April 24, 2019 / 10:37 AM / 10 months ago

METALS-Copper rebounds on hopes for trade deal and Chinese growth

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Copper and other base metals recovered on Wednesday from the previous day’s losses, buoyed by hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal and stronger economic growth in top metals consumer China.

The White House said that top U.S. officials will travel to Beijing for trade talks next week, with one leading official expressing optimism about striking a deal.

Most industrial metals declined on Tuesday after comments by Chinese officials dampened hopes for more stimulus measures.

“It looks like the market is shifting its focus more towards the trade negotiations and also the brightening outlook for Chinese economy in the second half of the year,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

“This is, however, already reflected in copper prices at levels around $6,400-$6,500. In order to push prices higher from here, there would need to be more positive data, more positive surprises, which might be difficult to achieve.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added 0.6 percent to $6,448 a tonne in closing open-outcry activity, having shed 1.1 percent on Tuesday.

Investors will look to China’s April purchasing managers index (PMI), due next week, for further evidence on China’s economy after a strong figure in March, said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau.

* DOLLAR: Gains were capped by the U.S. dollar, which was steady on Wednesday after rising to a 22-month high. A stronger dollar makes dollar-denominated metals more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

* ALUMINIUM STOCKS: LME aluminium inventories fell by 14,175 tonnes to 1,032,925 tonnes, the lowest since last October, daily LME data showed on Wednesday.

LME aluminium rose 0.3 percent to finish at $1,872 a tonne, supported by buying from computer-driven funds and consumers, Alastair Munro at broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

LEAD TECHNICALS: LME lead on Tuesday showed a chart pattern known as a “key reversal down”, which could add further bearish pressure, said Eddie Tofpik at broker ADM Investor Services International. “This is actually quite significant, so watch out.”

LME lead gained 0.4 percent to end at $1,925 a tonne after dropping 1.2 percent in the previous session. It is the worst-performing LME metal so far this year, having declined by about 5 percent.

* SHANGAHI OPEN INTEREST: Surging open interest in zinc and nickel on the Shanghai Futures Exchange points to large short positions being established there, said Munro at Marex. For instance, aggregate open interest in nickel has soared 31 percent since April 15, he said.

Nickel was up 0.2 percent at $12,410 at 1600 GMT after touching a two-month low on Tuesday.

* PRICES: Zinc dipped by 0.2 percent to close at $2,742 a tonne and tin shed 1 percent to $19,700, its lowest since Jan. 8.

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Additonal reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore Editing by David Goodman

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