Nickel dropped a second day as investors await data on industrial production growth in China that slid to a six-year low last month. Copper rose for the first time in three days.
Nickel fell as much as 1.5 percent while copper climbed as much as 0.6 percent. China’s industrial output in April expanded 6 percent from the same month last year, according to a Bloomberg survey before results on Wednesday. Production grew 5.6 percent in March, the slowest since November 2008. Industrial metals fell Monday after the People’s Bank of China announced the third interest rate cut in six months as the country’s policy makers struggle to meet the official growth target of about 7 percent.
“Tomorrow’s data will be closely watched and has the potential to move the markets,” said Ric Spooner, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “The stimulus had been widely anticipated. Markets will be looking for any evidence that things might actually be growing better or worse than they currently anticipate.”
Nickel for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange slid 1.3 percent to $14,090 a metric ton at 3:12 p.m. in Hong Kong.
Copper in London gained 0.4 percent to $6,390 a ton ($2.90 a pound). In New York, July futures rose 0.4 percent to $2.9135 a pound, while the metal for the same month in Shanghai climbed 0.1 percent to close at 45,830 yuan ($7,381) a ton.
Inventories of the metal held in China’s bonded warehouses rose by 30,000 tons in April to 590,000 tons, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data. The increase was mainly due to weak domestic demand, according to BI analysts Yi Zhu and Kenneth Hoffman.
Also on the LME, aluminum, lead and zinc fell while tin rose.