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METALS-Copper bounces on strong U.S. jobs data, weak dollar
April 11, 2013 / 4:26 PM / 5 years ago

METALS-Copper bounces on strong U.S. jobs data, weak dollar

* U.S. jobless data better than expected, dollar falls

* Prices down 5 percent in the year to date

* Demand concerns weigh on outlook, China GDP eyed

* Coming up: Euro zone industrial production, Fri 0900 GMT

By Harpreet Bhal and Eric Onstad

LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Thursday on a weaker dollar and after strong U.S. jobs data lifted sentiment about the outlook for global metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed up 0.46 percent at $7,610 a tonne, bouncing from a session low of $7,510.

Prices recovered after data showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, which eased fears of a marked deterioration in labor market conditions after a surprise stumble in job growth in March.

Also supporting copper prices were losses in the dollar, which makes metals priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for buyers outside the United States. The euro climbed to a six-week high versus the dollar as Italy’s three-year debt costs fell to their lowest since January at an auction.

Copper prices hit a two-week high of $7,645.25 this week, rebounding from 8-month lows at the start of April, but some traders said they are selling into rallies.

“I think we will remain below $7,700 in choppy trading. Euro zone industrial output for Feb and U.S. retail sales for March will set the trend tomorrow, so macro-driven jittery trading is to be expected,” said analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov at VTB Capital in London.

The metal used in power and construction is down by almost 5 percent this year, weighed down partly by disappointment about sluggish demand in top metals consumer China.

“Looking ahead, investors are focused on economic data out of China including GDP numbers, which will be a major driver for base metals prices,” said Daniel Briesemann, analyst at Commerzbank.

Demand remains uncertain due partly to rising stockpiles and a slowdown in economic growth in China, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of global demand for refined copper.

LME copper stocks and ShFE inventories are around their highest levels in a decade, while stocks in Shanghai’s bonded zone are close to record levels.

China’s annual economic growth is likely to have nudged higher in the first three months of 2013 over the last quarter of 2012, with fixed asset investment and factory output growth in double digits, a Reuters poll showed.

Other metals were mixed, with zinc and nickel moving higher.

Nickel closed up 1.4 percent to $16,270 a tonne and zinc ended 0.2 percent firmer at $1,914.

Aluminium shed 0.6 percent to finish at $1,898 a tonne, lead closed down 0.2 percent at $2,085 and tin ended 0.1 percent lower at $22,860 a tonne.

Tin has been the top performer among LME base metals so far this year, declining only 2 percent compared to about 10 percent for lead and 8 percent for aluminium.

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