TOKYO, Oct. 28 -- Aluminum jumped to the highest level in more than a year in Shanghai on signs of recovering demand in Asia, including China and Japan.
Futures in Shanghai have gained 34 percent and aluminum in London has advanced 29 percent this year as the Dollar Index declined 6.4 percent against six major currencies. The currency index fell for the first time in five days, boosting the appeal for commodities as a store of value.
"Compared with other markets, such as equities and oil, base metals looked strong because of the dollar's weakness," Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Tokyo-based commodity broker Fujitomi Co., said today by phone. "We've seen a continued influx of funds in the metals market."
January-delivery aluminum on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained as much as 2.2 percent to 15,560 yuan ($2,279) a metric ton, the highest level since Sept. 26, 2008, and was at 15,385 yuan as of 11:29 a.m. local time. The metal for delivery in three months rose 0.3 percent to $1,990 a ton on the London Metal Exchange.
China's imports of aluminum jumped to 1.4 million tons in the first nine months from 91,274 tons in the same period a year earlier, according to customs office data.
Japan's shipments of aluminum rolled products dropped at the slowest pace in 10 months in September, led by a recovery in demand from the auto and electronics industries.
Supplies to the domestic and export markets declined 18 percent to 157,085 metric tons from 192,328 tons a year earlier, the Japan Aluminium Association said today. The pace of the decrease slowed for a seventh month after beginning to drop in October last year. Shipments plunged 39 percent in February, the worst slump in 34 years, as recession slashed demand for the metal used in houses and car parts.
Copper for delivery in three months gained as much as 1.2 percent to $6,660 a ton and was at $6,614 at 12:40 p.m. Shanghai time, snapping the previous two days' losses. The metal used in cables, pipes and tubes rose to a 13-month high of $6,732 a ton on Oct. 26 after a report showed China's copper imports, the world's largest, expanded for the first time in three months.
The December-delivery contract on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 1.2 percent to $3.034 a pound. January-delivery copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange added as much as 1.3 percent to 51,840 yuan a ton and last traded at 51,350 yuan.
Among other LME-traded metals, zinc dropped 0.7 percent to $2,298 a ton and lead added 0.6 percent to $2,285 a ton. Nickel and tin were unchanged at $18,650 and at $15,395 a ton.