The contract for delivery in three months gained 0.3 percent to $7,222 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange by 11:19 a.m. in Seoul. The metal is still down 0.5 percent this week, set for the first weekly decline in three, as the U.S. Federal Reserve is cutting its monthly bond purchases to $75 billion from $85 billion. Prices fell 8.9 percent this year.
China’s copper imports rose 19 percent last month as a trade surplus widened to the biggest in more than four years, signaling a sustained economic recovery. Stockpiles monitored by the LME fell to the lowest since February. Indonesia, the biggest producer of mined nickel, also produces copper and is set to start an export ban on mineral ores next month.
“We see some signs of a recovery in Chinese demand,” said Will Yun, commodities analyst at Hyundai Futures Co. in Seoul. “At the same time, the supply concerns are being re-emerged as the fear over the Fed stimulus cuts is subsiding.”
PT Freeport Indonesia said Dec. 6 it would have to cut mine output to about 40 percent of maximum capacity if the ban is fully imposed. Glencore Xstrata Plc said Nov. 11 it might take at least four to six weeks for its Pasar smelter in the Philippines to return to normal operations after typhoon damage.
Futures for delivery in March were little changed at $3.2975 a pound on the Comex in New York, set for the first weekly loss in three. The contract for March delivery fell 0.2 percent to 50,960 yuan ($8,393) a ton in Shanghai.
On the LME, zinc and lead climbed, while aluminum and nickel were little changed. Tin hadn’t traded.
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