Copper gains as China imports rise 3% y-o-y

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New Delhi | Published: September 9, 2015 12:05:34 AM

Copper prices rose in intraday trade on Tuesday, as fresh data revealed China’s import of the base metal had risen almost 3% in August from a year before...

Copper prices rose in intraday trade on Tuesday, as fresh data revealed China’s import of the base metal had risen almost 3% in August from a year before, and as stocks markets of the world’s second-largest economy gained.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) advanced 2.4% to $5,270 a tonne by 1000 GMT, having risen a tad in the previous session. Copper has recovered roughly 9% since plumbing to a six-year low of $4,855 a tonne on August 28 due to persistent concerns about the state of the Chinese economy and its demand for raw materials amid a sell-off in its stock markets.

Tuesday’s data revealed copper imports by China, which accounts for roughly 40% of the global demand for refined copper, rose 2.9% from a year earlier to 350,000 tonne, although the imports remained flat at the July level.

However, since the import was still better than what analysts had expected, the base metal markets took a positive note of it.

Latest data also revealed the euro zone grew faster than expected in the June quarter (0.4% against the previous estimate of 0.3%) following better expansion in Italy and Greece, helping the market sentiments.

The proposed cut in copper production by mining major Glencore, announced on Monday, also weighed on the prices. Glencore is planning to suspend 400,000 tonnes of production at its African mines over the next 18 months.

Tracking copper, LME aluminium rose 1% to $1,616 a tonne while zinc inched up 1.5% to $1,798 and nickel advanced 1.7% to $9,920 a tonne.

However, some analysts believe the recent uptick in copper prices may not last if the US Federal Reserve decides to raise the interest rates. Moreover, China’s overall imports declined far more than expected in August, stoking fresh concerns that  China’s economy may be slowing more sharply than expected.

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