Dec 7 (Bloomberg) -- Copper gained for a sixth day to trade within 1.3 percent of its all-time high as investors sought a hedge against rising prices and declining currencies. Zinc, lead and nickel also advanced.
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 0.9 percent to $8,845 a metric ton and traded at $8,837.75 a ton at 11:57 a.m. Singapore time, after falling as much as 0.6 percent earlier. The metal reached a record $8,966 a ton on Nov. 11.
"Commodities are in a tug-of-war as, on the one hand, more quantitative easing in the U.S. is bullish and, on the other hand, further tightening in China is bearish,” Sun Jiequn, an analyst at Rising Futures Co., said from Guangdong. "Uncertainty in Europe is bearish, while rising inflation is bullish. Falling metal inventories is bullish and depreciating currencies is bullish, so the bulls have been winning in the past few days.”
The metal for March-delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 1.1 percent to 66,250 yuan ($9,959) a ton, after falling as much as 0.5 percent earlier. Futures on the Comex in New York added as much as 0.8 percent to $4.0395 a pound, reversing a 0.7 percent loss.
Copper stockpiles in LME warehouses have shrunk 30 percent this year, dropping to 352,375 tons yesterday, the lowest level since October 2009, exchange data show. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell last week for a second week.
The U.S. Dollar Index, a six-currency gauge of the greenback’s strength, dropped as much as 0.3 percent, after gaining yesterday for the first time in four days.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the economy is barely expanding at a sustainable pace and it’s possible the Fed may need more stimulus. China Securities Journal today reported the "window” for China to increase borrowing costs may be this weekend. China and the U.S. are the two largest copper consumers.
After handing Ireland an 85 billion-euro lifeline, European finance ministers ruled out immediate aid for Portugal and Spain or an increase in the 750 billion-euro ($1 trillion) crisis fund. Ministers from all 27 European Union countries are set to give formal approval today to the Irish aid package announced Nov. 28.
In Chile, workers at Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc’s Collahuasi venture accepted a wage offer yesterday, ending a month-long strike at the world’s third-largest copper mine. The strike was the longest recorded dispute at a major Chilean copper mine, surpassing the 26-day strike at BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Escondida in 2006.
Aluminum in London rose 0.8 percent to $2,323 a ton, zinc gained 1.2 percent to $2,245 a ton and lead climbed 0.6 percent to $2,365 a ton. Nickel advanced 0.6 percent to $23,730 a ton, and tin increased 0.7 percent to $25,660 a ton.