Metals News
Copper May Advance as Demand Outlook Offsets China, Japan Growth Concerns
industry news
Mar 30,2011

Mar.30 (Bloomberg) --Copper in London may gain for a second day as expectations demand will be robust outweighed concerns about slowing economic growth in China and Japan.

Three-month-delivery copper on the London Metal Exchange gained as much as 0.4 percent to $9,619 a metric ton before trading at $9,588.50 at 2:55 p.m. Singapore time. The metal, which fell 0.6 percent earlier, is headed for its first quarterly decline since the three months ended June 2010 on speculation that economic growth will slow after Japan’s worst earthquake on record and China’s monetary tightening measures this year.

"We’re going to see trading continue in a fairly wide range of $9,000 and $10,000 as investors are torn between the longer-term outlook and short-term developments,” Zhang Xi, an analyst at Luzheng Futures Co., said from Shandong. "We are still bullish on the outlook for demand this year.”

Copper futures on the Comex in New York gained as much as 0.8 percent to $4.379 a pound, while the metal for June delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as much as 1.1 percent to 71,600 yuan ($10,918) a ton.

Japanese companies resumed production, easing concerns about lower output and demand. Zinc producer Dowa Holdings Co. plans to resume its smelter operations next month, while automaker Nissan Motor Co. expects factories to return to normal by the end of June.

Still, efforts to stabilize the Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima, damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, have been hindered by detection of radiation levels that can prove fatal to a person exposed for several hours. The facility may take three decades to decommission and cost operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion), engineers and analysts said.

In China, the central bank has boosted the reserve- requirement ratio eight times and raised interest rates three times since the start of 2010 to cool the economy and tame inflation. It may raise interest rates again in early April, Citigroup Inc. said.

Aluminum and lead in London were little changed at $2,649 a ton and $2,685 a ton respectively, while zinc was also little changed at $2,377.75 a ton. Nickel lost 0.4 percent to $26,500 a ton while tin gained 0.4 percent to $31,700 a ton.

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