Copper swung between gains and losses as investors weighed signs of economic recovery from China to Europe against prospects for reduced U.S. stimulus.
Metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,233 a metric ton at 3:59 p.m. in Tokyo after losing 0.4 percent and gaining 0.7 percent. The price rose 1.9 percent yesterday, the most since Aug. 8.
A euro-area manufacturing index increased more than economists forecast, while a weekend report showed manufacturing in China, the world’s biggest consumer of metals, expanded last month to a 16-month high. The U.S. Federal Reserve will cut stimulus at its next meeting on Sept. 17-18, according to 65 percent of economists in a survey last month. A report today may show U.S. factory output expanded in August.
“After the good manufacturing data from China and Europe yesterday, the market is focusing on when the Fed will start to taper quantitative easing,” said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul.
The Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory index is estimated at 54 in August, compared with a two-year high of 55.4 in July, economists forecast before the release of the data today.
Futures for delivery in December on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.3 percent to close at 52,360 yuan ($8,555) a ton. Metal for delivery in December on the Comex in New York rose 1.8 percent compared with Aug. 30 to $3.291 a pound. There was a Labor Day holiday yesterday in the U.S.
On the LME, lead, tin, nickel and aluminum dropped, while zinc was little changed.