China state stockpiler is considering buying copper, nickel - sources
HONG KONG Dec 17 (Reuters) - China's commodity stockpiler is working on plans to buy about 300,000 tonnes of copper and 100,000-150,000 tonnes of nickel in 2014 to take advantage of weak international prices, said three sources with knowledge of the matter.
The potential purchases by the State Reserves Bureau (SRB) would be equivalent to two-thirds of copper stocks and half of nickel stocks in the London Metal Exchange's (LME) registered warehouses, which would push up prices.
Details of the plans have not been finalised, after the state body made enquiries about global supply and premiums of the two metals last month to select firms, according to two of the sources.
SRB was likely to import the copper and nickel through mostly state-owned firms and the plans are unlikely to be announced, the two sources said.
The third source said the stockpiler preferred to buy metals from domestic producers unless international prices were lower or it did not want to push up domestic prices.
The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
China usually does not announce imports for strategic stockpiling and the quantity of state stocks. An official at the State Reserves Bureau did not comment on the stockpiling plans. (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in SINGAPORE; Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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