Copper rebounds on Citi report, weaker dollar

LONDON - Copper rallied nearly 5 percent and supported other industrial metals on Monday as the dollar weakened and sentiment improved after a report that the U.S. government could increase its stake in Citigroup.



By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 23 Feb 2009, 8:35 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:56 AM

European shares were higher, oil was up and the euro rose close to a two-week high against a broadly lower dollar after a source said the U.S. government could end up owning as much as 40 percent of the ailing Citigroup.

Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose as high as $3,300 a tonne and was traded at $3,235 a tonne in LME ring trading versus $3,150 a tonne on Friday.

“The Citigroup announcement is producing a relief rally in stock markets. The dollar’s falling and these factors are all supportive for metals,” Calyon analyst Robin Bhar said.

A weaker dollar makes copper and other dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for local currency holders.

Bhar said a fall in copper inventories after Friday’s big jump was also positive. Physical copper stocks in LME warehouses fell 950 tonnes, but stand at 544,650 tonnes, their highest in more than five years.

In what could be a sign of improving demand in China, the world’s top copper consumer, inventories of the metal in Shanghai fell 11 percent from a week earlier to 30,105 tonnes last week.

The drop in inventories marks the first fall since mid-January, when stocks were just half that level.

DEMAND WEAK

However, demand for copper is still weak.

“Things haven’t really changed fundamentally in terms of demand being non-existent,” Bhar at Calyon said.

“Stocks—even though they fell this morning—are at a five-year high and are likely to increase further.”

Low demand has caused copper prices to collapse by more than 60 percent since July, when they struck a record $8,940 a tonne.

China’s imports of refined copper in January fell 14.7 percent from December’s all-time record due to holidays in the month, but imports surged 41 percent from a year earlier, because of attractive margins and possible government buying to boost reserves.

“Some of the factories in China think that the current price is very low so they are building up their stocks,” said Shao Hebin, an analyst at Great Wall Futures.

Low prices and tepid demand have forced China’s central government to buy metals as reserves, as part of Beijing’s plans to support smelters during the current slowdown.

Industry sources said last week China’s State Reserve Bureau (SRB) might have already contracted up to 240,000 tonnes of refined copper imports as part of a plan to buy 300,000 tonnes.

China announced last week a broad outline of a support plan for its electronics and information technology sector, saying it would boost investment over the next three years.

The picture in aluminium is equally gloomy, analysts said. ”Prices are likely to remain range-bound in the short-term,” analysts at Societe Generale said in a research note.

“The weakness of consumption and the notable overhang by reported stocks will continue to make any ventures north of the top-end hard to sustain, while any declines below the lows we have already witnessed will most likely be met with support from a dramatic reduction in output.”

Three-month aluminium was at $1,301 a tonne from Friday’s close of $1,305.

Stocks of the energy-intensive metal are at a record high 3.16 million tonnes.

Zinc edged up to $1,108 from Friday’s close at $1,105 a tonne. Key stainless steel ingredient nickel rose to $9,580 from $9,495 a tonne.

Lead climbed to $1,035 from $1,030, and tin rose to $10,550 from $10,525 a tonne.

Metal Prices at 1309 GMT

MetalLastChange Percent MoveEnd 2008

Ytd Percent

move

COMEX Cu141.400.00+0.00139.501.36

LME Alum1320.0015.00+1.151535.00-14.01

LME Cu3286.00136.00+4.323060.007.39

LME Lead1032.002.00+0.19999.003.30

LME Nickel9525.00-375.00-3.7911700.00-18.59

LME Tin10400.00-125.00-1.1910700.00-2.80

LME Zinc1115.0010.00+0.901208.00-7.70

SHFE Alu11580.000.00+0.0011540.000.35

SHFE Cu*27280.00740.00+2.7923840.0014.43

SHFE Zin10230.00130.00+1.2910120.001.09 ** 1st contract month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07

Metal Prices at 1317 GMT

MetalLastChange Percent MoveEnd 2008

Ytd Percent

move

COMEX Cu141.400.00+0.00139.501.36

LME Alum1293.00-12.00-0.921535.00-15.77

LME Cu3236.0086.00+2.733060.005.75

LME Lead1025.00-5.00-0.49999.002.60

LME Nickel9500.00-400.00-4.0411700.00-18.80

LME Tin10425.00-100.00-0.9510700.00-2.57

LME Zinc1105.000.00+0.001208.00-8.53

SHFE Alu11580.000.00+0.0011540.000.35

SHFE Cu*27280.00740.00+2.7923840.0014.43

SHFE Zin10230.00130.00+1.2910120.001.09 ** 1st contract month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07


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