Copper swung between gains and losses amid speculation about the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering of stimulus and ahead of China’s industrial production data.
The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange traded little changed at $7,133 a metric ton at 10:11 a.m. in Shanghai after rising as much as 0.1 percent and falling as much as 0.2 percent. The price reached $7,149 yesterday, the highest since Nov. 12.
China may report today that factory output grew 10.1 percent last month, according to the median estimate of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Copper imports by the biggest user rose 19 percent in November while a total trade surplus expanded to the biggest in more than four years. The Fed may begin cutting stimulus at its Dec. 17-18 policy meeting, according to 34 percent of economists surveyed Dec. 6 by Bloomberg, up from 17 percent as of Nov. 8. The U.S. is the world’s second-biggest copper consumer.
“Positive economic indicators and some seasonal factors are wrestling with tapering concerns in the market,” said Xu Liping, a Shanghai-based analyst with HNA Topwin Futures Co.
Copper for delivery in February on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.5 percent to 51,120 yuan ($8,418) a ton. The contract for delivery in March fell 0.2 percent to $3.252 a pound on the Comex in New York.
On the LME, zinc and lead gained while nickel, aluminum and tin were little changed.
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