(Updates prices, recasts throughout)
By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, March 19 (Reuters) - Copper and aluminium edged up on Tuesday, supported by China’s announcement to cut tax for manufacturers from next month and on expectation of a seasonally higher growth in the second quarter.
“Sentiment was largely constructive as investors continued to view China’s latest policy moves as positive for metals demand,” ANZ said in a note.
China will cut value-added tax for manufacturing and other sectors on April 1, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday, adding that cuts in taxes and fees remained a key measure to cope with downward pressure on its economy.
But gains were muted as the tax cut might not translate into higher earnings for companies as they would make use of the lower tax rate to boost research and development, said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities.
China’s second quarter economic growth could be at a lower pace compared to the same period last year, but it is expected to pick up from the seasonally slow first three months, which has a long holiday of Chinese New Year, Lau said.
* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.6 percent to $6,462.5 a tonne by 0706 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.3 percent to 49,330 yuan ($7,343.51) a tonne.
* COPPER STOCKS: Copper inventories in LME-approved warehouses fell slightly to 183,825 tonnes by March 15 but were still hovering around a five-month high. MCUSTX-TOTAL
* SIERRA GORDA: A union at Chile’s Sierra Gorda copper mine, controlled by Polish mining company KGHM, could go on strike this week after rejecting the latest offer in contract negotiations, the union leader told Reuters.
* TECHNICALS: LME copper may test a resistance at $6,525 per tonne this week, a break above which could lead to a gain into the range of $6,594-$6,662, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
* CHINA CONSTRUCTION: China by mid-year will slash the time needed to obtain approvals for construction projects as part of a push for growth, the country’s housing ministry said on Monday.
* VEDANTA CLASH: A protester and a policeman died in clashes outside Vedanta Ltd’s eastern Indian alumina refinery, a police official said on Monday, less than a year after police killed 13 anti-Vedanta protesters in south India.
* OTHERS: Three-month London aluminium contract touched as high as $1,934 a tonne, the highest since Feb. 6, while nickel rise 1.1 percent and zinc was almost flat at $2,782 a tonne.
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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
ARBS ($1 = 6.7155 Chinese yuan) ($1 = 6.7175 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu