METALS-Copper bounces on strong U.S. jobs data, weak dollar

Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:42am EDT

* U.S. jobless data better than expected, dollar falls
    * Prices down 5 percent year to date
    * Demand concerns weigh on outlook, China GDP eyed


    By Harpreet Bhal and Eric Onstad
    LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Thursday on a weaker
dollar and after strong U.S. jobs data lifted sentiment about the outlook for
global metals demand.
    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added 0.5 percent to
$7,614 a tonne by 1507 GMT, bouncing from a session low of $7,510.
    Prices recovered after data showed that the number of Americans filing new
claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, which eased
fears of a marked deterioration in labor market conditions after a surprise
stumble in job growth in March.    
    Also supporting copper prices were losses in the dollar, which makes metals
priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for buyers outside the United States. The
euro climbed to a six-week high versus the dollar as Italy's three-year debt
costs fell to their lowest since January at an auction. 
    Copper prices hit a two-week high of $7,645.25 this week, rebounding from
8-month lows at the start of April, but some traders said they are selling into
rallies.
    "I think we will remain below $7,700 in choppy trading. Euro zone industrial
output for Feb and U.S. retail sales for March will set the trend tomorrow, so
macro driven jittery trading is to be expected," said analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov
at VTB Capital in London.
    The metal used in power and construction is down by almost 5 percent this
year, weighed down partly by disappointment about sluggish demand in top metals
consumer China.
    "Looking ahead, investors are focused on economic data out of China
including GDP numbers, which will be a major driver for base metals prices,"
said Daniel Briesemann, analyst at Commerzbank.
    Demand remains uncertain due partly to rising stockpiles and a slowdown in
economic growth in China, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of global
demand for refined copper.
    LME copper stocks and ShFE inventories are around their highest levels in a
decade, while stocks in Shanghai's bonded zone are close to record levels.  
    China's annual economic growth is likely to have nudged higher in the first
three months of 2013 over the last quarter of 2012, with fixed asset investment
and factory output growth in double digits, a Reuters poll showed.
 
    
          
    Other metals were mixed, with tin and nickel moving higher. Tin has been the
top performer among LME base metals so far this year, declining only 2 percent
compared to about 10 percent for lead and 8 percent for aluminium.
    Tin added 0.3 percent to $22,875 a tonne and nickel gained
0.6 percent to $16,152.
    Aluminium shed 0.3 percent to $1,903 a tonne, zinc lost 0.6
percent to $1,899.50 and lead inched up 0.1 percent to $2,088.75.
    
 Metal Prices at 1509 GMT
 Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T
  Metal            Last      Change  Pct Move   End 2012   Ytd Pct
                                                              move
  COMEX Cu       343.70        1.90     +0.56     365.25     -5.90
  LME Alum      1900.50      -18.50     -0.96    2073.00     -8.32
  LME Cu        7610.75       35.75     +0.47    7931.00     -4.04
  LME Lead      2084.25       -5.75     -0.28    2330.00    -10.55
  LME Nickel   16135.00       85.00     +0.53   17060.00     -5.42
  LME Tin      22881.00        6.00     +0.03   23400.00     -2.22
  LME Zinc      1898.00      -12.00     -0.63    2080.00     -8.75
  SHFE Alu     14740.00       65.00     +0.44   15435.00     -4.50
  SHFE Cu*     54970.00     -370.00     -0.67   57690.00     -4.71
  SHFE Zin     14740.00      -85.00     -0.57   15625.00     -5.66
 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper
 * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN
 SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07
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