May 7, 2020 / 6:35 AM / 25 days ago

METALS-Copper rises on China demand recovery, exports surprise

(Adds analyst comment, updates prices)

May 7 (Reuters) - Copper futures rose on Thursday, along with other industrial metals, buoyed by a rebound in China’s demand for the manufacturing material and an unexpected rise in the country’s overall exports in April.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.4% to $5,218.50 a tonne by 0336 GMT, extending gains into a fourth session.

The most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.5% at 42,760 yuan ($6,025.85) a tonne by the midday break.

“The rebound in prices mainly reflects continuous recovery in Chinese demand and overseas supply pressure,” said Helen Lau, a metals and mining analyst at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

The market also cheered the better-than-expected overall Chinese exports data for April, Lau said, although she believed that a surge in purchases of medical equipment and other items may have boosted shipments.

China’s April exports rose 3.5% from a year earlier, marking the first positive growth since December last year, customs data showed on Thursday.

China’s unwrought copper imports rose 4.3% in April from the prior month, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data, boosted by an economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak and favourable prices.

Gains in copper, however, were capped by simmering trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Meanwhile, Argonaut’s Lau predicted that demand for Chinese commodities would be “very fragile” while the pandemic persists.

FUNDAMENTALS

* TRADE DEAL: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be able to report in about a week or two whether China is fulfilling its obligations under a Phase 1 trade deal the two countries signed in January before the coronavirus spread globally.

* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium was up 0.3% at $1,484.50 a tonne, nickel advanced 0.3% to $12,340 and zinc climbed 0.5% to $1,984.50.

* SHFE PRICES: In Shanghai, aluminium was the lone loser, slipping 0.4% to 12,655 yuan a tonne, while nickel jumped 2.3% to 102,000 yuan, and zinc climbed 1.1% to 16,650 yuan.

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PRICES

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

ARBS

($1 = 7.0961 yuan)

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Aditya Soni

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