* Market waiting for China GDP data on Monday
* Dollar firms after sell-off on Thursday
* Copper supply disruptions diminish
By Susan Thomas and Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, July 12 Copper fell on Friday as the
dollar firmed and as traders cut risk ahead of Chinese data next
week, but the metal remained on track for the biggest weekly
gain in two months after the United States signalled it would
keep monetary policy loose.
A rally this week in financial markets spread across stocks
and bonds to oil and metals, driven by hints from the Federal
Reserve that it may not be as eager to phase out support as
markets had started to believe.
But while shares continued to rise on Friday, caution set in
on the metals markets as concerns about demand for commodities
in top consumer China resurfaced after dismal trade numbers this
week and ahead of gross domestic product (GDP) data on Monday.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
ended at $6,954 a tonne, down from a close of $7,000 on
Copper hit the highest since June 18 on Thursday at
$7,049.25 a tonne and is on course to close the week up around 2
percent, the biggest weekly gain in more than two months.
"The Fed got their message across that tapering isn't
imminent. That was yesterday's story," BNP Paribas analyst
Stephen Briggs said.
"The focus now returns to China. Clearly the market's view
is that the slowdown in China is quite a substantial one, and
China is more important for metals demand than is the U.S. and
Europe," he said.
China accounts for 40 percent of global copper consumption.
As for Beijing's second-quarter GDP figures, economists
polled by Reuters see growth at a median 7.5 percent.
China's finance minister signalled that Beijing may be
willing to tolerate economic growth in the second half of the
year significantly below 7 percent, the most sobering comment to
date from a senior policymaker on its slowdown.
"Their (metals price) resilience will be tested at the
beginning of next week when key Chinese economic indicators such
as the gross domestic product, fixed assets investments and
industrial production figures are published," Commerzbank
analysts said in a note.
"Our analysts anticipate disappointing second-quarter growth
figures, which could weigh on prices in the short term."
The dollar rose against a basket of currencies on Friday,
making dollar-priced copper more expensive for holders of other
In addition, supply disruptions that have underpinned the
copper price in recent months are diminishing.
Copper concentrate shipments from Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi mine
began on Tuesday after repeated delays. At full tilt it will
produce some 450,000 tonnes a year.
Earlier in the week Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.
resumed copper shipments from Grasberg in Indonesia, the
world's second-biggest copper mine, as it restarted open-pit and
In other metals, zinc ended at $1,903 from $1,900 on
Aluminium, untraded at the close, was bid at $1,843,
compared with $1,835 at the close on Thursday. Tin, also
untraded at the close, was bid at $19,500 from $19,450.
Lead, untraded at the close, was bid at $2,071 from
$2,080, and nickel, also untraded at the close, was bid
at $13,750 from $13,635.