* Rio ahead of schedule on Mongolian copper exports
* Chinese consumers inflation rises
By Silvia Antonioli and Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, May 9 Copper fell on Thursday as price
charts suggested a pause a day after the metal's rally to a
three-week high on expectations of rising demand from top
importer China following strong trade numbers.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME)
was last bid at $7,354 at the close, down from ending at $7,419
in the previous session, when it hit its highest since April 12
Better-than-expected Chinese trade data as well as a rise in
Germany's industrial output and upbeat U.S. payroll figure
triggered a short-covering rally this
"In general short positions on copper are still pretty big,
so my feeling is that there are still some legs on the upside
for copper. I wouldn't be surprised to see the short-covering
take copper certainly past $7,500 and possibly to $7,700,"
analyst Gayle Berry at Barclays said.
"Fundamentals have been getting a bit better, even though
the macro sentiment is still pretty weak. Stocks have been
falling, physical premiums have been going up and activity at
some of the end-users in China looks a bit better."
Stocks of copper in LME-registered warehouses
fell by 75 tonnes to 605,750 tonnes, daily data issued on
Thursday showed. They have been declining in the past two weeks
following a steep increase in the previous six months.
Rio Tinto said it could gain Mongolian approval to
ship copper from its huge Oyu Tolgoi mine earlier than expected,
adding to concerns about oversupply.
"Oyu Tolgoi running ahead of schedule shows that mine supply
is improving, so you do have a more well-defined surplus in the
second half of the year, which will put pressure on prices
again," Berry said.
Also weighing on copper, China's imports of the metal fell
7.4 percent in April from a month before to hit a 22-month low,
data showed on Wednesday.
CHINA INFLATION CLIMBS
Analysts and traders said Thursday's weakness in copper was
due to technical factors.
"After the rally the price is too stretched. There is too
big a gap between the 13-day moving average ($7,520.27), which
is a reference for the short-term trend, and the 30-day moving
average ($7,628)," T-Commodity consultant Gianclaudio Torlizzi
"Until that gap closes there is a downward risk for copper
Higher consumer inflation in China could also be pressuring
prices. China's annual consumer inflation quickened to 2.4
percent in April from March's 2.1 percent due to higher food
Aluminium ended at $1,891, from $1,908 at the close
on Wednesday, while zinc closed at $1,872 from $1,894.
Lead ended at $2,017 from $2,064 and tin
closed at $20,725 from $20,745. Nickel closed at $15,285
from $15,405 at the close on Wednesday.
Metal Prices at 1605 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
COMEX Cu 334.15 -2.60 -0.77 365.25 -8.51
LME Alum 1899.00 -9.00 -0.47 2073.00 -8.39
LME Cu 7372.50 -46.50 -0.63 7931.00 -7.04
LME Lead 2030.50 -33.50 -1.62 2330.00 -12.85
LME Nickel 15437.00 32.00 +0.21 17060.00 -9.51
LME Tin 20650.00 -95.00 -0.46 23400.00 -11.75
LME Zinc 1879.75 -14.25 -0.75 2080.00 -9.63
SHFE Alu 14620.00 20.00 +0.14 15435.00 -5.28
SHFE Cu* 53230.00 340.00 +0.64 57690.00 -7.73
SHFE Zin 14550.00 -45.00 -0.31 15625.00 -6.88