Copper scaled a 4-1/2-month peak on Monday, after Chinese data over the weekend showed solid imports of the metal last month, signalling an improvement in the manufacturing sector despite the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade tussle on demand.
Benchmark London Metal Exchange copper rose 0.7% to $6,032 a tonne by 0712 GMT, after climbing to $6,038.50 earlier during the session, its strongest since July 25.
Shanghai Futures Exchange’s most-traded copper contract ended up 2.3% at 48,440 yuan ($6,881.76) a tonne, off the day’s high of 48,470 yuan, its highest since July 22.
The better-than-expected import data may point to firming domestic demand after factory activity showed surprising signs of improvement recently, although analysts have noted the recovery could be difficult to sustain amid trade risks. “China’s commodity imports for November were stronger than expected, suggesting economic growth has stabilised after Q3’s softness,” said ANZ in a report. “With trade tension keeping inventories relatively low, import demand should be well supported into the year-end,” it said.
COPPER: Prices have broken above the 200-day moving average of $5,990 and if held on Monday’s close, may send a buy signal to momentum following funds to spark further gains.
IMPORTS: China’s copper imports rose 12.1% in November from the previous month to their highest in more than a year, as an unexpected improvement in the manufacturing sector drove up demand.
EXPORTS: Exports of unwrought aluminium stood at 452,000 tonnes in November, according to customs data. January-November exports from China, the world’s top aluminium producer, were down 0.3% from a year ago at 5.25 million tonnes.
SPREADS: Nearby tightness remained in aluminium, flagging a shortage of immediately available material as the cost of carrying the metal for tomorrow and the next day hit $2 on Friday, pointing to more deliveries into LME stocks ahead.
PRICES: London nickel fell 1.7% while Shanghai nickel dropped 1.0%; London zinc gained 0.5% and Shanghai zinc was up 0.2%.