* Euro strengthens against dollar
* Copper tagged for delivery jumps in LME warehouses
* U.S. indicators showing signs of economic growth
* COMING UP: January U.S. factory orders, home sales
(Recasts, updates prices, market activity; new byline,
dateline, previously LONDON)
By Carole Vaporean
NEW YORK, March 3 Copper rose on Wednesday,
hitting a seven-week high as the dollar fell against the euro,
making metals cheaper for non-U.S. investors amid signs that
demand was improving cropped up in the U.S. and Asia.
Benchmark copper CMCU3 on the London Metal Exchange ended
at $7,580 a tonne, up from a close of $7,490 on Tuesday. The
red metal, used in power and construction, touched a session
high of $7,634, its highest since Jan. 11.
In New York, most active copper for May delivery HGK0
finished with 2.35 cent gains at $3.4350 per lb on the New York
Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division.
The contract reached a high of $3.4720, near the seven-week
high hit Monday at $3.4870 after Chile's earthquake.
The euro strengthened after debt-laden Greece endorsed a
4.8 billion euro austerity package, to ensure it met key fiscal
targets. [ID:nLDE6221CO] Dollar-denominated copper tends to
rally when the euro gains.
Copper rose "because the situation in Greece has gotten
better, so the euro's rise was very strong. I think that had a
lot to do with it," said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist
with National Securities Corp. In New York,
Robust data from the U.S. services sector did little to
help the dollar, but added to other data showing improvement in
U.S. economic growth. [USD/] [ID:nLDE622222]
In COMEX after-hours trade, the Federal Reserve released
its Beige Book report showing increased U.S. economic growth.
The anecdotal Beige Book reported modestly stronger
economic activity across most of the 12 Fed districts during
February despite heavy snowstorms in many areas. [nWEQ003823]
Also supporting copper was a rise in canceled warrants in
LME warehouses. Material tagged for delivery rose to 35,975
tonnes on Tuesday from 29,800 the previous day, and was up from
14,000 a week earlier.
Canceled warrants now constitute 6.5 percent of total LME
copper stocks, which last fell 1,750 tonnes to 550,575 tonnes.
Demand from China helped copper surge 140 percent in 2009
in the absence of Western demand, but the world's third-largest
economy has been buying less copper as it tightens monetary
policy to temper rapid growth.
But some analysts pointed to the canceled warrants and
Wednesday's drop in London Metal Exchange warehouse stocks as
indication that China may be gearing up its purchases.
"You have slightly lower inventories and increased
bookings. That could be showing better demand," said Serkin.
CHILE IMPACT EASES
Traders said the impact from Chile's weekend earthquake
lessened, but still underpinned prices.
After two large aftershocks in Chile on Wednesday, top
copper producer Codelco said its operations were not affected,
[ID:737-800S] and it was exporting normally. [003600.KS]
Anglo American PLC (AAL.L) said copper production lost
after Chile's weekend earthquake amounted to less than 1,500
tonnes, with minor damage at its mining operations. [WB.N]
Chile's copper mines, which produce a third of global
supply, emerged almost unscathed from Saturday's massive
8.8-magnitude quake which killed almost 800 people, toppled
buildings, shattered key highways and downed power lines.
[ID:nN02150357] [ID:nN03234941] [ID:nWLB9145]
For more on Chile mines resuming output, see
For a map locating Chile's major copper mines and the quake
epicenter, see: link.reuters.com/qug92j
Aluminium touched a five-week peak of $2,219 a tonne. Used
in transport and packaging, it ended at $2,210 from $2,168.
Steel ingredient zinc CMZN3 closed at $2,320 from $2,255,
battery material lead CMPB3 at $2,238.50 from $2,200, and tin
CMSN3 was untraded at the close, but bid at $17,350 from
$17,075 a tonne on Tuesday.
Stainless ingredient nickel CMNI3 hit $22,943, its
highest since June 2008. It closed at $22,845 from $22,240 on
Tuesday. It is up about 20 percent so far this year.
(Additional reporting by Rebekah Curtis and Pratima Desai in
London; Editing by David Gregorio)