February 16, 2016 / 4:48 AM / 4 years ago

METALS-London copper climbs as steadier Chinese markets soothe growth worries

* China to import less copper in Feb, March -StanChart

* Oil rebound to help copper, other commodities -trader

* Coming up: Germany ZEW economic sentiment Feb at 1000 GMT (Recasts, adds detail, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Feb 16 (Reuters) - London copper rallied on Tuesday as China markets stabilised, soothing fears that a further sharp deterioration in Chinese shares or currency could derail a fragile global recovery and impair demand for metals.

Rebounding oil prices and solid U.S. consumption data also prompted investors to look for bargains after last week’s rout.

In metals markets, China’s copper imports have been resilient - especially considering the international economic turmoil - helping to underpin prices.

Still, imports of the metal are likely to tail off in coming months, returning the global market to surplus, Standard Chartered said in a note.

Bets that the Chinese currency would depreciate inflated imports late last year as traders rushed to get the most bang from their yuan, but as those concerns have receded, the country’s appetite for metals should moderate in the near term, the bank said.

“While we expect the refined market to ultimately re-tighten from Q2 onwards, near-term fundamental dynamics suggest limited upside for prices,” Standard Chartered said.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had climbed 0.7 percent to $4,594 a tonne by 0715 GMT, adding to a 1.4 percent advance in the previous session.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper ended flat at 35,680 yuan ($5,481) a tonne after a volatile session while ShFE aluminium climbed 2.1 percent and nickel 1.1 percent.

Also calming jitters, Chinese banks extended a record 2.51 trillion yuan of new loans in January, well above expectations, while growth in money supply quickened to a 19-month high, suggesting Beijing is keeping monetary policy loose to counter a prolonged economic slowdown.

Adding to copper’s momentum, U.S. oil prices jumped back above $30 a barrel on Tuesday as a rare private meeting of officials from the world’s top oil producers spurred speculation of an eventual deal to tackle a deep supply glut.

Further oil gains, which push up production costs but also trigger index-linked commodity buys, could fuel copper further, a Hong Kong trader said.

ShFE zinc and lead both fell more than half a percent.

The global zinc market deficit widened to 25,400 tonnes in December from a deficit of 20,000 tonnes in November, data from the Lisbon-based International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) showed on Monday.

The global lead market had a 27,600 tonne surplus in December from an upwardly revised 6,800 tonnes in November, the data showed.

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 ($1 = 6.5099 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Tom Hogue and Anupama Dwivedi)

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