Base Metals Advance as Copper Gains on Strike, Stoppage in Chile

Copper gained on output disruptions in Chile and as easing inflation in China reduced pressure on policy makers to tighten credit. Aluminum, lead, zinc, nickel and tin also rose.

Copper for delivery in three months climbed as much as 1.3 percent to $7,550 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $7,540 at 3 p.m. Shanghai time. The metal for August delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 0.9 percent higher at 55,090 yuan ($8,881) a ton, while the May contract on the Comex gained 0.9 percent to $3.402 per pound.

Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc halted the main crusher at Collahuasi in Chile to correct processing failures for an estimated period of 45 days, John MacKenzie, head of copper at the London-based company, said in an April 5 interview. Chilean copper miners will hold their first nationwide strike today for 24 hours to push for greater job security.

“The strike news offered support to copper prices,” Wu Jianjian, an analyst at Yongan Futures Co., said by phone from Hangzhou. “The rally may face heavy pressure at $7,600 amid expectations for a surplus.”

A global copper concentrate surplus may reach 350,000 tons this year, said Aurubis AG Chief Executive Officer Peter Willbrandt.

Consumer prices in China, the biggest copper user, gained 2.1 percent in March from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That compared with a growth of 3.2 percent in February and a median estimate of 2.5 percent in a Bloomberg News survey.

“The drop in March CPI inflation will ease market concerns on the likelihood of policy tightening in the near term,” Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in a research note today.

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