METALS-Copper at five-week high, eyes Nov gain on China prospects
* China official PMI due on Dec. 1
* Aluminium Dec-Jan backwardation jumps to $20
* Coming Up: U.S. Chicago PMI Nov ; 1445 GMT
(Adds comment, detail, updates prices) SINGAPORE, Nov 30 (Reuters) - London copper hit its highest in five weeks on Friday after comments from the head of European Central Bank lifted the euro, adding to gains made this month on signs that China's economic recovery has taken root. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was trading 0.7 percent higher at $7,955.25 a tonne by 0720 GMT. Prices are set to finish November up more than 2 percent, bringing year-to-date gains to almost five percent. Copper earlier hit a session peak of $7,965 a tonne, helped of $7,905. "Everyone's expectations on the copper market are turning bullish quarter 1. You've got the U.S. housing market starting to pick up, China starting to pick up and reforms next year," said Jonathan Barratt, chief executive of Barratt's Bulletin, a Sydney-based commodity research firm. Copper prices could even stage a snap rally going into the end of the year, given low liquidity and supply constraints further out that make the metal one of the top commodities picks for 2013, Barratt said. "There's a couple of gazillion dollars on the sidelines waiting to park itself. What I worry about is that all of a sudden there will be a rush to the gates for big assets....I think now represents a good time to buy," he added. The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rallied 1.6 percent to finish at 57,360 yuan ($9,200) a tonne, its highest since Oct. 25. The euro rallied to its highest in more than one month on Friday, having been a driving force in the metals' advance this week. A weaker dollar makes commodities priced in the greenback cheaper for holders of other currencies. ECB President Mario Draghi reaffirmed the bank stood ready to do whatever necessary to keep the euro stable, and forecast a recovery for the euro zone in the second half of next year.
But European stocks are seen opening little changed, taking a breather as key indexes neared the upper end of their recent ranges and as mixed signals about U.S. budget talks keep investors on edge. In other news that could support metals via currency markets, Germany's parliament is expected to approve a fresh bailout for Greece on Friday in a vote seen as a test of Chancellor Angela Merkel's authority. There were bright spots in global manufacturing. Japan's industrial output unexpectedly rose in October in a sign the world's third-largest economy may have seen the worst of the effects of weak global trade and a diplomatic row with China.
China's factory activity in November probably expanded at its fastest pace in seven months, reinforcing views that recovery in the world's second-largest economy is becoming entrenched going into the final quarter of the year. China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) may have rebounded in November to 50.6 from October's 50.2, data is expected to show at the weekend. China's top maker of copper tubes, Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, expects 2013 production to rise by 14 percent from a year ago, as signs of an improving economy inspire cautious optimism, boosting orders at home and abroad.
ALUMINIUM OUTPERFORMS Three-month aluminium hit its highest in seven weeks at $2,074 a tonne on Friday, boosted by a lack of available supply and chart-based buying after it broke through its 200-day moving average of $2,024 on Thursday. Reflecting an absence of readily available stock, the premium for the December contract jumped to $20 against the January contract <MALZ2-F3> on Thursday from $3.75 at the start of the month. Nearby futures tightness has lifted LME aluminium stocks to successive record highs this week above 5.1 million tonnes and inventory is expected to rise further into the year end. Banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs and commodities trade houses Glencore and Trafigura that own warehouses have caused queues to be built up restricting supply and underpinning prices. PRICES
Base metals prices at 0720 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 7955.25 55.75 +0.71 4.67 SHFE CU FUT MAR3 57300 910 +1.61 3.50 HG COPPER DEC2 360.85 2.00 +0.56 5.02 LME Alum 2083.00 20.00 +0.97 3.12 SHFE AL FUT FEB3 15495 120 +0.78 -2.21 LME Zinc 2051.00 24.00 +1.18 11.17 SHFE ZN FUT FEB3 15455 290 +1.91 4.46 LME Nickel 17249.00 249.00 +1.46 -7.81 LME Lead 2242.00 20.00 +0.90 10.17 SHFE PB FUT 15435.00 60.00 +0.39 0.98 LME Tin 21750.00 -120.00 -0.55 13.28 LME/Shanghai arb^ 682
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ($1 = 6.2281 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)