METALS-Copper rises on China imports, strong dollar checks gains

Fri Nov 8, 2013 12:10pm EST

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By Susan Thomas

LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Copper rose on Friday on solid imports of the metal into top consumer China and better-than-expected U.S. jobs data, but a resurgent dollar kept gains in check.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange, untraded at the close, was last bid at $7,165 from a last bid of $7,145 on Thursday. Copper has fallen 1 percent this week after a near 1 percent rise last week, remaining firmly within a $7,000-7,420 trading band since early August.

Data showed China's copper imports in October rose 26.4 percent from October 2012, although they fell 11.2 percent from September, when they hit an 18-month high.

"October was a holiday month (in China), so the fact that imports were only down slightly was quite impressive, and they have increased very strongly on a year-on-year basis," Barclays analyst Gayle Berry said.

"I think what that's telling us is that China's appetite for copper is still strong. And our reading of that is that some of it is end-use demand, but also certainly there has been a pickup in financing demand."

Importers in China have been keen to use copper as collateral for short-term loans due to expectations of a cash crunch in the domestic market ahead of the year-end, according to traders in China.

Traders said increased interest by importers had cut the availability of copper in bonded warehouses in Shanghai, pushing buyers to get shipments from the international market.

Investors are also waiting for a weekend Chinese leadership meeting that may offer clues on economic policy.

The dollar rose against a basket of currencies after U.S. job growth unexpectedly accelerated in October as employers shrugged off a government shutdown.

A stronger U.S. currency makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase dollar-priced commodities.

For the week, benchmark LME nickel was the biggest loser, facing a drop of 4.5 percent after slipping 0.6 percent to $13,917 a tonne on Friday.

Three-month tin closed at $22,850 a tonne, up from $22,695 at the close on Thursday, after news about potentially weak supply from Indonesia.

An industry group in Indonesia said tin reforms aimed at funnelling exports through a single exchange had caused half the smelters in its top tin-producing region to halt their operations and sparked a wave of protest.

LME three-month aluminium closed at $1,815 from $1,821, while zinc closed flat at $1,904, lead at $2,140 from $2,144 and nickel at $13,910 from $14,000.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Three month LME tin

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