March 9, 2016 / 11:50 AM / 4 years ago

METALS--Copper, zinc bounce back on hopes for more production cuts

* Philippines nickel producers plan to cut output 20 pct

* Rusal sees slower China aluminium output growth

* Dollar dips after U.S. wholesale inventories rise (Adds details, updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Copper, zinc and other base metals rebounded on Wednesday as speculators piled back into the market on hopes more production cuts would lead to shortages and that top metals consumer China would introduce more economic stimulus measures.

A weaker dollar also supported the market, making commodities priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for buyers outside of the United States.

The dollar fell after data showed U.S. wholesale inventories unexpectedly rose in January as sales tumbled.

Industrial metals slumped on Tuesday as many investors cashed in their previous bets on higher prices following a strong rally from multi-year lows in January.

“Yesterday, people took the chance to take some profits, but once prices reached more attractive levels again, they are stepping in again,” analyst Daniel Briesemann at Commerzbank in Frankfurt said.

“Prices are being driven by sentiment and momentum at the moment, but on a longer-term basis it is also being driven by the expectation that production will be cut, in some cases considerably, and China will probably continue to keep its economy alive with its stimulus programme.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed up 1.4 percent at $4,935 a tonne, having shed 2.6 percent in the previous session in its biggest one-day slide since Nov. 16.

Copper hit a 6-1/2 year low of $4,318 in January.

If commodity prices can maintain gains after rallies in raw materials, including a 30 percent spike in iron ore, it is a positive sign the global economy is strengthening, chief investment officer Jonathan Barrett of Ayers Alliance in Sydney said.

“The key will be the follow up data this weekend.”

The first reading for China’s industrial output this year is due at the weekend. Output is expected to increase by 5.6 percent for January and February, down from a 5.9 percent expansion in December.

LME zinc climbed 2.1 percent to finish at $1,797 a tonne while nickel bounced 3.3 percent to end at $8,880 after plunging more than 8 percent on Tuesday.

Nickel drew support from news that nickel ore producers in the Philippines, the top supplier to China, have agreed to cut output and shipments this year by as much as 20 percent.

Aluminium closed up 1 percent at $1,582 a tonne.

The world’s biggest aluminium producer Rusal said on Wednesday it planned to start its Boguchansk smelter in the first half of the year, but also said output growth in top producer China would be the lowest in five years.

Lead climbed 1.4 percent to end at $1,845 a tonne in official rings while tin added 1.5 percent to $16,800.


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 (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Mark Potter and Jane Merriman)

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