Zinc, Nickel Driving Metals Gains as China Factory Gauge Expands

Updated on
  • Private Caixin PMI index rises to highest since February 2015
  • Vedanta flags tightening zinc market in company earnings call

Zinc and nickel led gains in industrial metals as investors focused on a Chinese measure of manufacturing that rose to the highest since February 2015.

The purchasing managers index from Caixin Media and Markit Economics jumped in July from June. That was even as another gauge calculated by the government showed a drop. Zinc led metals after producer Vedanta Resources Plc highlighted tightening supply, while copper fell as oil retreated.

“Chinese data is probably the catalyst for a bit of light short covering this morning," Andrew Silver, a broker at Triland Metals Ltd. in London, said by e-mail. "There’s a bit more general optimism around. Only copper is being held back by the lower oil price."

Zinc climbed for a third straight session, gaining 1.1 percent to settle at $2,267 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. It traded near the highest in more than a year. Stockpiles held in LME-approved warehouses fell for an 18th day.

The metal, used to galvanize steel, is up 41 percent this year after output cuts including at Glencore Plc mines reduced supply. It’s the best-performing commodity after silver this year in the Bloomberg Commodity Index.

Tom Albanese, chief executive officer of Vedanta, on Friday cited a tightening zinc market as a reason to invest in production. Total refined zinc output at the company’s Zinc India unit fell 45 percent in the quarter ended June 30 from a year before, it said Monday.

In other metals:

  • Copper for delivery in three months slipped 0.9 percent to $4,882 in London, erasing an earlier advance as oil tumbled. Energy accounts for a large share of copper mining costs.
  • Nickel and tin also rose, while aluminum slipped. Lead was unchanged.

— With assistance by Luzi-Ann Javier, and Winnie Zhu

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