* Chinese manufacturing data below expectations
* U.S. manufacturing grows, jobless claims fall
* Zinc retreats from 10-month peak
By Julia Fioretti and Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, Jan 2 Copper rose to a seven-month high
on Thursday, lifted by shrinking supplies and prospects for
global economic recovery, though signs of weakness in top
consumer China capped gains.
Three-month LME copper reached its highest since
June 5 at $7,460 a tonne and closed at $7,393 from the previous
close of $7,360.
The metal used in power and construction fell 7.2 percent in
2013 but gained more than 4 percent in December, posting its
biggest monthly rise since September 2012.
Copper's yearly decline was more modest than many expected
as an expected surge in new mine production was stymied by
processing backlogs. These have limited the amount of refined
metal being produced and prices have failed to fall
Copper's rise on Thursday was restrained by a survey showing
China's factory activity expanded at the slowest pace in three
months in December, weighed down by shrinking export orders.
"China's PMI numbers showed momentum is waning. I expect
that a sell-off is on the cards," said Gianclaudio Torlizzi,
partner at T-Commodity.
"Potentially copper might reach $7,600 before turning down."
China accounts for as much as 40 percent of global demand
for refined copper.
"With the focus on copper in recent months having been
mostly centred around the prospect for increased availability of
supply, the continued pick up in demand as evidenced through the
drop in inventory levels has forced traders to switch their
focus," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo
Copper stocks in LME-monitored warehouses dropped a further
725 tonnes to 366,485 tonnes on Thursday, the lowest level since
January 2013, exchange data showed.
In a sign of resilience in the United States, the world's
largest economy, a gauge of factory activity held near a
2-1/2-year high in December and the number of Americans filing
new claims for jobless benefits fell for a second week last
In other metals, zinc closed at $2,075 a tonne from
its previous close of $2,055.5 a tonne. Analysts believe that
mine closures will squeeze the oversupplied market and drive
It hit a 10-month peak of $2,108 on Dec. 27 and was the top
performer among industrial metals in 2013, losing only 1.2
percent compared with aluminium's 13.2 percent tumble.
Tin closed at $22,075 a tonne from its previous
close of $22,350, while lead closed at $2,221 a tonne
from its previous close of $2,219 a tonne.
Aluminium closed at $1,803 a tonne against its
previous close of $1,800, while nickel finished the day
at $14,025 a tonne, up from a previous close of $13,900.
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