January 3, 2018 / 2:15 AM / a year ago

METALS-China metals mixed; lead gains as frigid weather persists

    SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Chinese base metals were mixed in
early trade on Wednesday, as the most active copper contract
slipped, while lead gained the sharpest as parts of the United
States braced for more frigid weather.
    The peak demand period for lead, which is largely used to
make batteries, is during winters when the freezing weather
causes battery failures.
    Commodities traders said mixed signals were also emerging
over the extent of China's demand for imported industrial metals
in 2018, which was dampening activity among some local
    Optimism about Chinese demand was boosted overnight by an
unexpected December rise in manufacturing and a pick up in new
orders. But higher prices for raw materials and firms cutting
staff have fuelled concerns about growth.             
    However, Goldman Sachs        said it sees more risks to the
upside than the downside for metals demand in China, playing
down concerns of a sharp decline from policy changes.
    * Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange        
was down 0.2 percent at $7,187.50 a tonne, by 0123 GMT,
extending losses from the previous session.
    * The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures
Exchange          slipped 0.4 percent to 55,920 yuan 
($8,615.01) a tonne.
    * SHFE LEAD: ShFE lead          was the top gainer on the
exchange, rising more than 1 percent at the start of trade,
while zinc          gained a modest 0.6 percent, failing to
build on a significant move in the LME contract overnight to a
10-year price peak on expectations of supply deficit.   
    Lead was aided by forecasts for further cold weather in the
eastern United States, which could lead to greater demand for
replacement lead batteries in automobiles, a key market for the
    * COLD FREEZE: A record-shattering freeze kept its grip on
much of the eastern United States on Tuesday, causing at least
seven deaths and closing schools as forecasters warned of a
storm that could slam some areas with blizzard conditions later
this week.             
    * CHINA BANK MOVE: China's central bank lifted its official
yuan midpoint CNY=PBOC to the highest level in over 1-1/2 years
to 6.4920 per dollar on Wednesday, breaching a key threshold,
reflecting broad dollar weakness and solid spot yuan
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    * Asian stocks struck a fresh decade high on Wednesday as
risk appetites were whetted by a bevy of upbeat manufacturing
surveys that confirmed a synchronised upturn in world growth was
well under way.                
    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                 
    Most active ShFE nickel                   
    Three month LME tin                     
    Most active ShFE tin                             

($1 = 6.4910 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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