February 8, 2018 / 5:59 AM / 2 years ago

METALS-Copper prices climb from 2018 lows on strong China imports

 (Adds detail, updates prices)
    By Melanie Burton
    MELBOURNE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - London copper prices climbed
off seven-week lows on Thursday, buoyed by solid China import
figures that bolstered optimism over the health of demand from
the world's biggest metals user. 
    China's trade machine kicked up a gear in January after
stumbling the previous month, with exports and imports both
growing much more than expected, getting the economy off to a
solid start to the year.
    However, with jitters in wider markets following an equity
shakeout this week, and an approaching holiday in China set to
crimp near-term metals demand, metals markets looked vulnerable,
broker Kingdom Futures said in a report. 
    "The metals have started the day on ... a nervous footing
and as the Chinese holiday approaches there could yet be another
round of selling before the weekend."
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had risen 0.4
percent to $6,907.50 a tonne by 0704 GMT, reversing sharp losses
from the previous session when prices fell 2.8 percent to the
lowest since Dec. 19 at $6,865 a tonne. 
    * TECHNICALS: Prices also pierced support at the 100-day
moving average near $6,883, damaging copper's technical picture.
 
    * SHANGHAI COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper
fell 1.8 percent to 51,840 yuan ($8,196) a tonne and finished
below the 200-day moving average, sending a "sell" signal to
chart-following funds. 
    * IMPORTS: China's unwrought copper imports fell for a
second straight month in January as winter restrictions on the
construction sector and high domestic production rates continued
to crimp demand for metal from overseas.

    * SCRAP CONCERNS: Traders were likely to import more copper
cathode to China given uncertainty over smelter feed supply as
new restrictions on China's scrap imports come into force, said
analyst Dan Morgan at UBS in Sydney. "I think imports will be
strong in the first half of the year."
    * SHARES: Asian shares flirted with six-week lows on
Thursday as U.S. bond yields crept towards four-year highs as
investors fretted that low borrowing costs enjoyed by companies
for many years may be endangered by the threat of rising
inflation.
    * ZINC CHARGES: Zinc smelters are set to accept lower fees
for processing concentrate into metal when annual contracts are
hammered out next week at a conference in California, as a
crunch in mine supply stretches into a third year.
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
 or     
        
     PRICES    
    
 BASE METALS PRICES               0703 GMT          
 Three month LME copper                       6897.5
 Most active ShFE copper                       51910
 Three month LME aluminium                      2162
 Most active ShFE aluminium                    14215
 Three month LME zinc                         3390.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                         26250
 Three month LME lead                           2513
 Most active ShFE lead                         19070
 Three month LME nickel                        13135
 Most active ShFE nickel                      100470
 Three month LME tin                           21430
 Most active ShFE tin                         149300
                                                    
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                              
 LME/SHFE COPPER             LMESHFCUc3      1172.51
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM          LMESHFALc3     -1642.07
 LME/SHFE ZINC               LMESHFZNc3       737.18
 LME/SHFE LEAD               LMESHFPBc3      -131.55
 LME/SHFE NICKEL             LMESHFNIc3      2458.07
 

($1 = 6.3252 Chinese yuan renminbi)

    
 (Reporting by Melanie Burton
Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)
  
 
 
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