HONG KONG, May 7 (Reuters) -
* The founder of Maike Group, one of China’s biggest metals traders, sees benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME) copper prices recovering to $6,500-$6,600 a tonne this year amid stable demand from top consumer China.
* LME copper touched a 2-1/2 month low of $6,150 on Friday amid computer-driven fund selling, but was trading up 0.5 percent at $6,269.50 as of 0543 GMT on Tuesday.
* “Prices should be better in the second quarter,” He Jinbi, chairman of Maike Metals International Limited, said on Tuesday, noting that Chinese copper smelters are expanding capacity but also carrying out maintenance this year.
* “I think copper prices are relatively stable, unlike other products that are in a surplus or can’t keep up with consumption,” He said on the sidelines of the LME Asia Week conference in Hong Kong.
* He, a strong advocate of LME warehousing in mainland China, was encouraged by news that LME owner Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing was in talks over a pilot warehousing scheme, but declined to forecast when such warehouses may come into operation as government approval is still needed. (Reporting by Tom Daly and Shivani Singh; Editing by Joseph Radford)