June 11, 2010 / 10:49 AM / 10 years ago

METALS-Copper ends up, has biggest weekly gain in 2 mths

 * Data pointing to global econ/commodity demand growth
 * Biggest weekly gain in copper since week of April 4.
 * Coming up: U.S. May housing starts on Wednesday
 (Changes headline, updates with New York closing copper price, adds New York
dateline/byline and analyst comments)
 By Chris Kelly and Michael Taylor
 NEW YORK/LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - Copper retreated from one-week highs
on Friday, but still managed to score its largest weekly gain since early
April, as demand expectations rose on generally positive macro readings in the
United States and China -- the world's top 2 consumers.
 Copper for July delivery HGN0 on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX
division peaked at $2.9450, its loftiest level since June 4, before ending up
4.15 cents at $2.9040 per lb.
 On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark copper for three-month delivery
CMCU3 touched a one-week high at $6,545 a tonne, and ended up $69 at $6,479.
 Investors turned their focus to a survey of U.S. consumer sentiment in
early June, which rose to its strongest level since March 2008. The
surprisingly strong data suggested the economic recovery in the world's largest
economy remained on track, and helped ease earlier jitters over an unexpected
drop in U.S. May retail sales. [ID:nN11114277]
 In China, a slowdown in the rate of copper imports in May and a moderation
in its industrial output and fixed-asset investment growth was not enough to
dampen a seemingly bullish change in sentiment this week. [ID:nTOE657073]
[ID:nTOE65A019]
 "After frenzied talk of doom and gloom last week, it seems that markets are
again expecting the global economy and commodity demand to grow," said Bart
Melek, Global Commodity Strategist with BMO Nesbitt Burns in a market
commentary.
 Bill O'Neill, partner of LOGIC Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey,
agreed.
 "All you have been hearing is that China is in this great slowdown mode ...
they may have slowed down from the peak, but the growth rates are still very
impressive," he said.
 "I think the demand from China, and the rest of Asia, is going to continue
to be very strong, especially for industrial metals."
 Uncertainty regarding euro zone debt and worries about sovereign default
have weighed on copper, down about 17 percent so far this quarter.
 "There was an exaggerated, very pessimistic economic scenario that had been
priced into base metals," said Gayle Berry, analyst at Barclays Capital.
 "Now you're beginning to see some of those declines being reversed because
the market has realized it had became overly pessimistic based on current
fundamentals," she added.
 EYE ON STOCKS
 Falling stocks of copper have also helped support prices.
 Copper inventories in LME warehouses fell by 1,400 tonnes to 465,000 tonnes
-- down from 555,075 tonnes in mid-February, its highest level since October
2003.
 Aluminum CMAL3 closed at $1,945 a tonne versus a quote at $1,949/$1,950
on Thursday. LME stocks for the metal fell 6,600 tonnes to 4.49 million tonnes,
down from record highs above 4.6 million tonnes touched in late January.
 Nickel stocks fell 852 tonnes to levels not seen since November at 133,794
tonnes.
 For a graphic:here
 A rise in canceled warrants -- metal already earmarked for delivery -- on
stocks in LME warehouses are also being watched for signs of improving demand.
 On Thursday, lead canceled warrants rose to their highest level since
January 2004 at 18,250 tonnes, while aluminum hit a 2010 high at 321,075
tonnes.
 A lot of canceled warrants on lead stocks were for U.S. warehouses, with
analysts suggesting a surge in battery restocking for the warmer summer season
was unfolding.
 Lead CMPB3 ended down $14 at $1,670 per tonne, while nickel CMNI3
jumped $600 to close at $19,545.
 Zinc CMZN3 rose $20 to finish at $1,740 a tonne, while tin CMSN3 dipped
$100 to end at $16,550.
 Metal Prices at 1951 GMT
 Metal            Last      Change  Pct Move   End 2009   Ytd Pct
                                                         move
 COMEX Cu       292.35        1.95     +0.67     334.65    -12.64
 LME Alum      1935.00        8.00     +0.42    2230.00    -13.23
 LME Cu        6455.00       45.00     +0.70    7375.00    -12.47
 LME Lead      1675.00       -9.00     -0.53    2432.00    -31.13
 LME Nickel   19450.00      505.00     +2.67   18525.00      4.99
 LME Tin      16650.00        0.00     +0.00   16950.00     -1.77
 LME Zinc      1735.00       15.00     +0.87    2560.00    -32.23
 SHFE Alu     14565.00      160.00     +1.11   17160.00    -15.12
 SHFE Cu*     51450.00      760.00     +1.50   59900.00    -14.11
 SHFE Zin     14295.00      175.00     +1.24   21195.00    -32.55
** Benchmark month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and
ZN
 SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07
 (Additional reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Sue Thomas and Sofina
Mirza-Reid)


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