October 26, 2015 / 10:10 AM / 5 years ago

METALS-Copper helped by weak dollar, China demand worry weighs

* Fed expected to keep U.S. rates on hold

* Chinese Central Committee meeting a focal point (Adds closing prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped from session highs on Monday as doubts emerged about demand from top consumer China, where the central bank last week cut interest rates, but sentiment was supported by a weaker dollar.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed 0.4 percent higher at $5,195 a tonne, having earlier touched a high of $5,240.

The metal used in power and construction hit a one-week high of $5,319.50 on Friday after the People’s Bank of China cut interest rates in an effort to boost growth.

“Markets don’t really believe cheaper credit is going to revive demand. If anything, cheaper money could make it worse as it may incentivise producers to increase capacity,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.

“There are troubling signs that things are slowing in the U.S. as well. You have the world’s top two economies slowing down, not a promising sign for metals.”

The Federal Reserve meeting this week is widely expected to keep rates steady, a factor behind recent dollar losses. A lower U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated commodities such as copper cheaper for non-U.S. firms.

A negative for industrial metals is highlighted by a survey from Citi showing expectations of falling capital expenditure on mining equipment.

“Mining capex survey participants said that, over the next 12 months, equipment spending on average is expected to be down 1.5 percent year on year versus -0.8 percent in our Q2 2015 survey,” the U.S. bank said in a note.

Three-month aluminium closed with a 1.1 percent decline at $1,480 a tonne, pressured by oversupply of the metal used in transport and packaging.

Research from Marex Spectron shows more speculators short of aluminium as of Oct 22. Marex said that latest estimates show the speculative short in aluminium grew by 45,000 lots week on week to 158,000 lots, or 27 percent of open interest.

Zinc slipped 0.8 percent to $1,740 and lead was slightly higher at $1,756 from $1,754 on Friday.

Nickel fell 0.5 percent to $10,460 a tonne and tin lost 1.6 percent to $15,500.

Tin earlier fell to a three-week low of $15,460. Traders said tin’s failure to break above the 200-day moving average last week was partly behind its losses.

Resistance is now at the 21-day moving average near $15,800 and support at $15,330, the 55-day moving average, one trader said.

Industrial metals markets are watching a gathering of China’s Central Committee until Thursday to finalise the 13th Five-Year Plan — a blueprint for economic and social development between 2016 and 2020.

PRICES

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

Editing by William Hardy, David Goodman and Adrian Croft

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