* BHP Billiton copper production up 6 pct on year
* Nickel at near nine-week high
* U.S. nonfarm payrolls rise less than expected
By Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, Oct 22 Copper rose on Tuesday as the
dollar fell and after the first U.S. jobs report in nearly two
months suggested the economy had lost steam, supporting
expectations that the Federal Reserve will delay a decision to
taper its bond-buying programme.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 148,000 last month, the U.S.
Labor Department said, less than economists' forecasts of
180,000 jobs. The report was released more than two weeks later
than originally scheduled because of the partial shutdown of the
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose
to a session high of $7,350 a tonne, before trimming gains to
closed at $7,333 from a close of $7,245 on Monday.
Fed officials are likely to hold off any decision on scaling
back the U.S. central bank's bond buying until the extent of the
economic damage from a budget fight and the shutdown is clearer.
"It will certainly take more than one report for the Fed to
trigger any kind of unwinding plan. So it is safe to say that
the tapering plan may not see daylight till the end of this year
or early next year," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at
The dollar fell across the board after the disappointing
jobs data. This helped copper because a weaker U.S. currency
makes it less expensive for foreign investors to buy
dollar-priced commodities, thus supporting prices.
CHINA OUTLOOK CHECKS GAINS
But gains were partly checked by concerns about the outlook
for demand from top consumer China, as well as expectations of
growing supply of the metal, used in electrical wiring.
China's refined copper production rose 10.6 percent in
September from the previous month, figures from the National
Bureau of Statistics showed.
"China's copper output increased in September, with smelters
raising their operational rates as the weather cooled down, and
because TC/RCs (processing fees) were very high," said analyst
Chunlan Li of consultancy CRU in Beijing.
"Copper production will continue to grow, but it's hard to
say if it will grow at the same pace ... Even though concentrate
supply is increasing, it takes time for new refinery capacity to
ramp up production," she added.
Highlighting the outlook for increased supply, BHP Billiton
, the world's biggest mining company, said it produced 6
percent more copper in the quarter to end-September than in the
Nickel rose to a near nine-week high at $14,880,
helped by a proposed ban by Indonesia on nickel ore exports.
Nickel closed at $14,850 per tonne from a close of $14,365 on
Citi said in a research note that nickel ore producers
appeared to be taking seriously prospects of an Indonesian ore
export ban from January next year, by raising the metal content
in their ore to maximise revenue.
LME zinc closed at $1,962 from $1,940 at the close
on Monday, lead at $2,202.50 from $2,165. Tin,
untraded at the close, was bid at $23,200 from $23,005, and
aluminium, also untraded, was bid at $1,879 from $1,856.
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