METALS-Copper hits 3-month low, dollar, China data drag
* China's factory growth slows, demand lags
* Dollar rises to six-month high vs basket of currencies
* Coming up: U.S. manufacturing PMI - 1358 GMT
LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - Copper fell to its lowest in more than three months on Friday burdened by a strong dollar and data showing cooling factory growth in China, a big consumer of industrial metals. China, the most closely watched of Asia's big manufacturing economies, saw factory growth slow to multi-month lows as sluggish domestic demand added to the effect from already depressed foreign sales, two separate Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) surveys showed. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.7 percent to $7,767 a tonne by 1144 GMT, having earlier slid to the lowest since November last year at $7,658 a tonne. Prices fell more than 4 percent in February. "The weak Chinese data shocked the market," said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar. "In the euro zone, weak manufacturing PMIs haven't helped. We've had a slew of negative news in the last 24 hours." PMI surveys showed activity in France, the euro zone's second-biggest economy has now contracted for a year. In Britain, figures showed that manufacturing shrank unexpectedly last month, tilting the country towards a third recession in four years. The dollar rose to its highest in six months against a basket of currencies as the euro fell on the poor economic data. A stronger dollar makes metals more expensive for holders of other currencies. Markets were also looking to the U.S. A day before sweeping budget cuts begin, the White House and Republicans blamed each other on Thursday for failure to prevent a fiscal crisis which the International Monetary Fund warned could slow the U.S. and world economies.
STOCK RISE "Overnight we also had a large rise in Shanghai stocks and LME stocks," Bhar said. "Everything is pointing to very weak markets and the only way for prices to move is to head down to allow prices to realign with the very much weaker fundamentals compared to just a few weeks ago." Signalling weaker demand, copper stocks in warehouses registered by the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose by a net 12,075 tonnes, bringing LME stocks of the metal to 458,775 tonnes, up 43 percent so far this year and a new high since Oct. 2011. Copper stocks registered on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed by 18,500 tons to 226,000 tonnes this week, bringing them to almost the same level as the record high they hit a year ago. Physical trade in top consumer China is also still quiet after the Lunar New Year but should start improving this month, analyst Sijin Cheng at Barclays Capital in Singapore. Tin was at $22,950 from $23,400 while zinc was at $2,019 from $2,065. Lead was at $2,231 from $2281 and aluminium was at $1,958 from $2,011. Nickel was at $16,454 from $16,605.
Metal Prices at 1150 GMT Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T
Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2012 Ytd Pct
COMEX Cu 347.75 -6.00 -1.70 365.25 -4.79 LME Alum 1958.50 -52.50 -2.61 2073.00 -5.52 LME Cu 7674.00 -196.00 -2.49 7931.00 -3.24 LME Lead 2235.00 -46.00 -2.02 2330.00 -4.08 LME Nickel 16455.00 -150.00 -0.90 17060.00 -3.55 LME Tin 22953.00 -447.00 -1.91 23400.00 -1.91 LME Zinc 2019.25 -45.75 -2.22 2080.00 -2.92 SHFE Alu 14675.00 -140.00 -0.94 15435.00 -4.92 SHFE Cu* 56720.00 -920.00 -1.60 57690.00 -1.68 SHFE Zin 15460.00 -195.00 -1.25 15625.00 -1.06 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN
SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07