METALS-Copper gains after U.S. jobs data

Fri Dec 7, 2012 5:17pm GMT

* U.S. payrolls rise by 146,000 in November
    * Dollar gains against euro on German growth downgrade
    * China industrial production figures due at weekend

    By Silvia Antonioli and Maytaal Angel
    LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Copper rose on Friday after better-than-forecast
U.S. jobs data pointed to improved growth prospects for the world's largest
economy, though gains were limited after the Bundesbank cut its outlook for
Germany's growth, boosting the dollar.
    U.S. non-farm employment increased by 146,000 jobs last month, defying
expectations of a sharp pullback, while the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7
percent, though that occurred largely because many Americans gave up the hunt
for work. 
    Keeping metals under pressure, the euro fell to a nine-day low against the
dollar after the Bundesbank announcement. A stronger dollar makes dollar-priced
metals more expensive for European and other non-U.S. investors. 
    Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose to a session high
of $8,065.25 a tonne after the payrolls data and ended up at $8,035 a tonne from
$8,000 at the close on Thursday. 
    Copper has gained around 4 percent since the start of November, mostly based
on the view that the economy in China, which consumes about 40 percent of the
world's copper, bottomed in the third quarter and should improve going forward.
    "The U.S. economy will be positive for copper but at the margins. Through to
the year-end it's possible we're going to continue (rising), but I expect it to
pull back next year. China is doing a bit better, but it's no longer
double-digit growth," Justin Lennon of Mitsui Bussan Commodities said.
    Chinese industrial production figures due at the weekend and a meeting of
the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) next week to discuss interest
rates will also be scrutinised for signs of economic recovery and future policy.
    In the meantime, investors remained anxious about negotiations by U.S.
political leaders to head off steep tax hikes and spending cuts that could tip
the economy into recession, with the deadline about three weeks away.
    The task of avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff" was down to talks between
Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner and President Barack Obama, according
to Capitol Hill aides. 
    Sentiment in the copper market was also affected by data showing that
Americans' outlook on the economy and their finances took a turn for the worse
in early December due likely to anxiety about the potential for higher taxes and
spending cuts. 

    REFINING CHARGES
    Traders were busy putting together term copper shipment deals for 2013, with
Chinese smelters and miners likely to forge agreements of $70 dollars per tonne
and 7 cents per pound for treatment and refining charges (TC/RC), Macquarie said
in a note.
    China's smelters received term 2012 TC/RC at $60 and 6 cents from BHP for
Escondida concentrates and $63.5 and 6.35 cents from Freeport, both seen as
benchmarks in Asia. 
    Global miners pay TC/RC to smelters to convert concentrate into refined
metal, and the charges are deducted from the sale price based on LME copper
prices. Higher charges are typically seen when concentrate supply rises.
    Three-month nickel closed up at $17,225 a tonne from a last bid of
$17,175 on Thursday.
    Three-month tin ended down at $21,775 a tonne from a close of
$21,925, while zinc closed little changed to $2,028 a tonne f rom $2,030
a t T h ursday's close.
    Lead ended at $2,215 a tonne from a last bid of $2,214, and
aluminium closed at $2,089 a tonne from a last offer on Thursday of
$2,085. 
 Metal Prices at 1708 GMT
 Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in
 yuan/T
  Metal            Last      Change  Pct Move   End 2009   Ytd Pct
                                                              move
  COMEX Cu       365.45        1.95     +0.54     334.65      9.20
  LME Alum      2093.00      -12.00     -0.57    2230.00     -6.14
  LME Cu        8034.50       34.50     +0.43    7375.00      8.94
  LME Lead      2214.00      -25.00     -1.12    2432.00     -8.96
  LME Nickel   17225.00     -325.00     -1.85   18525.00     -7.02
  LME Tin      21750.00     -175.00     -0.80   16950.00     28.32
  LME Zinc      2027.50       -2.50     -0.12    2560.00    -20.80
  SHFE Alu     15325.00       -5.00     -0.03   17160.00    -10.69
  SHFE Cu*     57370.00       30.00     +0.05   59900.00     -4.22
  SHFE Zin     15350.00       65.00     +0.43   21195.00    -27.58
 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper
 * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN
 SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.