January 3, 2018 / 7:29 AM / 2 years ago

METALS-China metals ease; lead gains as frigid weather persists

 (Updates prices)
    By James Regan
    SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Most Chinese base metals ended
lower on Wednesday, while lead gained more than 1 percent as
parts of the United States braced for more frigid weather.
    The peak demand period for lead, which is largely used to
make batteries, is during the height of winter when freezing
temperatures cause battery failures.
    Commodities traders said mixed signals were also emerging
over the extent of China's demand for imported industrial metals
in 2018, which was dampening activity among some local investors
and leading to a broader fall on the bourse.
    Optimism about Chinese demand was boosted overnight by an
unexpected December rise in manufacturing and a pick up in new
orders. But higher prices for raw materials and firms cutting
staff have fuelled concerns about growth.             
    However, Goldman Sachs        said it sees more risks to the
upside than the downside for metals demand in China, playing
down concerns of a sharp decline from policy changes.
    * Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange        
was down 0.45 percent at $7,173.50 a tonne, by 0700 GMT,
extending losses from the previous session.
    * The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures
Exchange          slipped 0.53 percent to 54,850 yuan 
($8,428.74) a tonne.
    * SHFE LEAD: ShFE lead          was the top gainer on the
exchange, closing 1.6 percent higher, while zinc         
slipped 0.31  percent, failing to build on a significant move in
the LME contract overnight to a 10-year price peak on
expectations of supply deficit.   
    Lead was aided by forecasts for further cold weather in the
eastern United States, which could translate into greater demand
for replacement of lead batteries in automobiles, a key market
for the metal.
    * COLD FREEZE: A record-shattering freeze kept its grip on
much of the eastern United States on Tuesday, causing at least
seven deaths and closing schools as forecasters warned of a
storm that could slam some areas with blizzard conditions later
this week.             
    * CHINA BANK MOVE: China's central bank lifted its official
yuan midpoint CNY=PBOC to the highest level in over 1-1/2 years
to 6.4920 per dollar on Wednesday, breaching a key threshold,
reflecting broad dollar weakness and solid spot yuan
    Three month LME copper                  
    Most active ShFE copper                  
    Three month LME aluminium               
    Most active ShFE aluminium               
    Three month LME zinc                    
    Most active ShFE zinc                    
    Three month LME lead                    
    Most active ShFE lead                    
    Three month LME nickel                 
    Most active ShFE nickel                   
    Three month LME tin                     
    Most active ShFE tin                             

($1 = 6.5075 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and
Vyas Mohan)
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