(Updates with closing prices)
By Eric Onstad
LONDON, March 30 Aluminium climbed to its
highest in 27 months on Thursday while copper hit a four-week
peak as speculators resumed buying ahead of fresh economic data
from top metals consumer China.
"The upturn was around the same time as the Shanghai
(Futures Exchange) evening session got under way, so it could be
some Chinese taking a view on the data coming out overnight," a
trader said. "There could also be some people squaring books
ahead of the month-end and quarter-end tomorrow."
Investors were waiting for Chinese manufacturing and PMI
data due on Friday and Saturday.
Most Chinese economic data in January and February were
strong, but the Lunar New Year celebrations may have distorted
some of the numbers, said Caroline Bain, chief commodities
economist at Capital Economics.
"The March data is going to be the first 2017 data we can
take at face value."
* ALUMINIUM: London Metal Exchange aluminium closed
0.6 percent higher at $1,972 after hitting $1,981, the highest
since December 2014, amid a background of worries about
shutdowns in China due to environmental issues.
* Gains in aluminium have been recently driven by buying
from a mix of CTAs (commodity trading advisers), discretionary
funds and traders, according to Alastair Munro at Marex
Spectron. LME on-warrant stocks fell to the lowest since
* CHINESE EXPORTS: Consultant Paul Adkins of AZ China said
it was unclear whether Chinese semi-fabricated aluminium exports
would rise in coming months. "The potential is there for an
increase, but I would not rush in to actually calling it at this
stage," he told the Reuters Global Base Metals Forum. "My big
concern however is that local governments continue to shut
factories (due to pollution)."
* COPPER: Three-month copper ended up 0.8 percent at
$5,955 a tonne after touching $5,985, the highest since March 2,
building on a 0.6 percent gain in the previous session.
* Copper output in world No. 1 producer Chile fell 16.7
percent in February, when a strike hit the huge Escondida mine.
* Freeport McMoRan Inc's Indonesian unit is close to
reaching a deal that would allow the world's biggest publicly
listed copper producer to temporarily resume concentrate
exports, Indonesia's mining minister said on Thursday.
* ZINC: LME price was bid up 0.4 percent at $2,870.
Korea Zinc Inc, the world's third-largest zinc
smelter, has agreed to take a 15 percent drop in annual
processing fees for 2017 as smelters grapple with a dearth of
mine supply, Metal Bulletin reported.
* NICKEL: LME price finished up 1 percent at $10,135
after lower prices sparked some consumer buying, Munro at Marex
* LEAD/TIN: Lead added 0.1 percent to close at
$2,351.50 and tin fell 0.2 percent to $20,145.
* WIDER MARKETS: The euro dipped and bond yields hit
multi-week lows on Thursday as easing inflation in Spain and
Germany led investors to row back further on expectations of
when the European Central Bank might tighten monetary policy.
BASE METALS ARBITRAGE yuan/T at 1608 GMT
LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 360.25
LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1907.73
LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 236
LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -1829.57
LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1700
(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing
by Mark Heinrich and Mark Potter)