Copper gained for the first time in four days after data showed that China’s manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in January, boosting the outlook for demand in the world’s largest user.
The metal for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.5 percent to $8,360 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, and traded at $8,350.25 at 10:30 a.m. in Shanghai. March-delivery copper was little changed at $3.7915 per pound on the Comex.
China’s purchasing managers’ index rose to 50.5 from 50.3 in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That compares with a median estimate of 49.6 in a Bloomberg survey of 17 economists. A reading above 50 shows expansion.
“Today’s advance, aided by the stronger-than-expected PMI, may not continue,” Xiao Wei, an analyst at Industrial Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “The rally last week was too fast and too soon, without fundamental support from China.”
Copper rallied 3.7 percent last week, helping to take gains in January to 9.5 percent, the best performance since October. The metal’s best start to a year since 2008 may stall as China is likely to buy less in the coming months, according to a report from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. yesterday.
April-delivery copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1 percent to 60,020 yuan ($9,519) per ton.
Pan Pacific Copper Co., Japan’s largest producer, plans to restart its Saganoseki smelter on Feb. 14, after losing about 30,000 tons of output after a fire on Jan. 7, spokesman Kouichi Shirai said today.
On the LME, aluminum rose 0.5 percent to $2,250 a ton, while zinc fell 0.5 percent to $2,095 a ton and lead declined 0.4 percent to $2,205 a ton. Nickel dropped 1.1 percent to $20,630 per ton, and tin lost 0.6 percent to $24,205 per ton.
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