* Indonesian mining ministry looks to ease mineral export
* Index rebalancing for 2014 gets underway, zinc selling
* Coming Up: FOMC releases the Minutes of December meeting
By Maytaal Angel
LONDON, Jan 8 Copper was little changed on
Wednesday as a strong dollar and concerns about economic
recovery in China were offset by expectations for strong U.S.
The dollar rose against a currency basket after data showed
Tuesday that the U.S. trade deficit shrank to its lowest in four
years, thanks mainly to booming energy production, prompting
analysts to revise up growth forecasts.
A strong dollar makes dollar-priced metals costlier for
The latest figures offered investors reassurance that the
Federal Reserve's decision to taper its asset buying was
justified by fundamentals. Minutes of the Fed's December meeting
and the ADP private sector jobs report are due later and will be
closely watched for clues on the tapering outlook.
Still, copper is struggling to gain traction, having hit its
lowest in nearly two weeks on Monday on worries about growth in
top consumer China, where the government has issued new rules to
strengthen regulation of shadow-bank lending.
"There's counter-balancing forces, on the one hand
inventories are being drawn on the other hand there's some
degree of concern over China. We've been sideways since January
but prices have been up since December, and latest data showed
money managers moving to net long positions," said Citi analyst
Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
dipped 0.01 percent at $7,350.25 a tonne by 1013 GMT,
after falling to a near two week low of $7,278.75 a tonne on
Monday. Copper is trading flat for the year so far, after losing
about 7 percent of its value in 2013.
Euro zone unemployment was unchanged at a record high for
the eighth month in a row in November, but retail sales made the
biggest monthly jump in 12 years, leaving European shares near
5-1/2 year highs, helped also by receding borrowing costs in the
In China, annual economic growth likely slowed a touch in
the fourth quarter, a Reuters poll showed, confirming market
views that the world's second-largest economy lost some vigour
as Beijing shifts its focus to reforms.
Muddying the picture this week will be index rebalancing as
the top two commodities indexes rebalance their weightings for
2014, with zinc set to come under selling pressure, Mark Keenan
of Societe Generale said.
The S&P GSCI and The Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index
(DJ-UBSCI) typically rebalance in the first-half of January.
Nickel was down 0.26 percent at $13,480 a tonne,
while tin was up 0.57 percent at $21,925 a tonne, with
LME stocks falling to a new two-year low at 260,610 tonnes.
Indonesia's mining ministry on Wednesday sought to ease a
looming mineral export ban by proposing a regulation that would
allow shipments of some mineral ore concentrates to continue
Indonesian government officials are scrambling to pass
regulations to ease a ban on unprocessed mineral ore exports
from Jan. 12.
Refined tin shipments from top exporter Indonesia rose to
13,562 tonnes in December, up 161 percent from November and the
highest in more than two years, a trade ministry official said.
Three month LME copper CMCU3
Most active ShFE copper SCFcv1
Three month LME aluminium CMAL3
Most active ShFE aluminium SAFcv1
Three month LME zinc CMZN3
Most active ShFE zinc SZNcv1
Three month LME lead CMPB3
Most active ShFE lead SPBcv1
Three month LME nickel CMNI3
Three month LME tin CMSN3