By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, July 1 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper prices on Wednesday rose to their highest in more than five months as traders pinned hopes on potential rate cuts in China, while better-than-expected manufacturing numbers in the top consumer also boosted the sentiment.
The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed at its highest since Jan. 17 at 49,350 yuan ($6,982.96) a tonne, and the three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose to as high as $6,094 a tonne, a level unseen since Jan. 23.
China’s factory activity last month grew at its fastest level since December, while the country is expected to cut some interest rates later in the day.
“The better-than-expected PMI data could provide very modest relief for policymakers in terms of policy easing, though with overall activity growth still much weaker than the trend level, and uncertainties around global growth and coronavirus development,” said Goldman Sachs analysts in a note.
“We expect the overall policy stance to remain supportive in the near future,” they added.
* COPPER STOCKS: LME copper stocks MCUSTX-TOTAL hit their three-month low at 216,600 tonnes, while ShFE copper inventories CU-STX-SGH were at their lowest since January 2019.
* CHINA COPPER: Chinese domestic refined copper prices SMM-CU-REF climbed to 48,910 yuan a tonne, their highest since Jan. 17, but premiums of imported copper into China have been flat for a week. CU-BMPBW-SHMET CU-BPCIF-SHMET
* ALUMINIUM: Chinese domestic spot aluminium prices SMM-ALU-ING rose to their highest since Jan. 20 at 14,170 yuan a tonne.
* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium was up 0.2% at $1,622 a tonne, as of 0723 GMT, while zinc fell 1% to $2,027 a tonne. In Shanghai, aluminium broke a key 14,000-yuan-a-tonne level to close at 14,030 yuan a tonne.
* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 7.0672 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)