Copper declines after China’s stimulus support

By Alex Davis Time of article published May 11, 2015

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Hong Kong - Copper slid a second day, shrugging off China’s bid to boost growth with a third interest rate cut in six months in the world’s largest consumer of the metal.

Copper entered a bull market last week and rose to the highest since December amid speculation China’s policy makers would add stimulus and on signs that supply is tightening. While prices slipped 0.6 percent in the last two days, the metal has rallied 18 percent from a five-year low in January.

“With the slowing data, the market is just going to stand back,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. “The import numbers were quite weak. Any rate cut now won’t start to impact demand until beyond next month.”

The People’s Bank of China cut the one-year lending rate 0.25 percentage points to 5.1 percent. The move, announced Sunday and effective Monday, came after the nation’s imports and exports both fell in April.

Copper for delivery in three months declined 0.4 percent to $6,360.50 a ton ($2.89 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange at 1.55pm in Hong Kong. In New York, July futures slid 0.6 percent to $2.9025 a pound, while the metal for the same month in Shanghai slipped 0.6 percent to 45,670 yuan ($7,355) a ton.

“PBoC’s decision to reduce policy rate further is in line with our forecast as well as market expectations,” HSBC Holdings Plc analysts led by Qu Hongbin wrote in a note May 10. The cut follows “a string of weak economic activity data and the lackluster April inflation data.”

Money managers raised their net-long copper positions to 31,645 futures and options on the Comex, the most in nine months, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday showed.

Nickel in London climbed 1.2 percent to $14,465 a ton, advancing for a third day, while the contract for July gained 1.6 percent in Shanghai to 114,040 yuan ($18,367) a ton.

Rules limiting the origin of nickel allowed for delivery in China’s new futures contract prompted speculation prices may extend gains as sellers seek supplies to meet the requirements. The Shanghai Futures Exchange is seeking to allow delivery of foreign-made nickel, including supplies from OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer, the bourse said on Friday.

Also on the LME, aluminum and zinc fell while lead and tin rose.


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