By MELANIE BURTON –
THE prices of copper in London climbed to the highest level in more than a week on Tuesday, supported by stronger-than-expected manufacturing growth in top metals user, China.
REUTERS reports that China’s large state-owned manufacturers returned a solid
report card for March as authorities lifted winter pollution restrictions and steel mills cranked up output with construction activity swinging back into high gear.
The picture was not quite as rosy among smaller to mid-size Chinese companies, where manufacturing activity expanded at its weakest pace in four months as export demand faltered.
The London Metal Exchange was closed on Friday and Monday for the Easter holiday.
Investor worries over a tit-for-tat trade spat between the United States and China were likely to fade out, INTL FCStone said in a monthly report.
“Over the course of April, we think investors will come to the conclusion that the trade issue is going to be a protracted and complicated affair and will likely be “defanged,” it said.
Metals traded on the London Metal Exchange will likely strengthen in the second quarter when seasonal demand is strongest, the brokerage said.
The prices on the LME London Metal Exchange jumped by 1.1 per cent to $6,790 a tonne, having peaked at $6,828, its highest since March 22.
Prices clawed their way back above the 200-day moving average, saving them from coming under further technical selling pressure.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper rose by 0.2 per cent to 50,370 yuan ($8,016) a tonne.
China has increased tariffs by up to 25 per cent on 128 US products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts, escalating a dispute between the world’s biggest economies in response to US duties on imports of aluminum and steel.
The US factory activity slowed in March amid shortages of skilled workers and rising capacity constraints, but growth in the manufacturing sector remains underpinned by strong domestic and global economies. – REUTERS