GO
Loading...

METALS-Copper up on Chinese factory data

* Freeport CEO flies into Indonesia for talks on ore export tax

* China May PMI climbs to 50.8 in May from 50.4 in April

* Coming up: US Markit Manufacturing PMI May at 1345 GMT

(Recasts, adds detail/quote, updates prices, changes dateline)

LONDON June 2 (Reuters) - Copper rose more than 1 percent on Monday, after its biggest monthly gain this year in May, helped by dwindling stocks, seasonal buying interest in top consumer China, and positive Chinese factory data.

China's manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in five months in May, reinforcing views that the world's second-largest economy is regaining momentum after a wobble at the start of year.

That momentum coupled with seasonal buying in China and strong speculative appetite for copper has helped send London Metal Exchange stocks of the metal near their lowest in six years at 170,825 tonnes. <MCU-STOCKS>

"Copper might have a bit further to go (near term). China is sweeping up every spare tonne of copper that's produced in world (and) seasonal factors are always supportive when the surplus is not that large," said BNP Paribas strategist Stephen Briggs.

But he added: "We won't stay above $7,000 a tonne for that long. The underlying surplus have more of an impact on market sentiment later in the year (and) China can't go on absorbing this spare copper forever."

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had climbed 1.19 percent to $6,926.75 a tonne by 1022 GMT, after the metal climbed 3 percent in May, the biggest monthly advance since December.

Copper is still facing losses of more than 5 percent this year.

Still renewed momentum in China is expected to boost the price of the red metal in the nearer term. To help support growth, China will lower the reserve requirement for more banks to free up additional cash for loans, the government said on Friday.

Hedge funds and money managers have raised their net long or buy positions in copper to the highest since January, in the week to May 27, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

But concern for the metal, China's home prices fell slightly in May from the previous month, two private surveys showed on Sunday, adding to fresh signs of cooling in a property market that has become a persistent drag on the broader economy in recent months.

"It's certainly a good sign to see the PMI starting to pick up ... but we probably can't get too carried away just yet - we need to keep an eye on some of the other indicators. HSBC (PMI) has improved but it's still a bit soft," said analyst James Glenn of National Australia bank.

HSBC PMI for May is due on Wednesday, alongside other global indicators on manufacturing health, including in the United States, where a jobs report is also due on Friday and factory data is due later this session.

Euro zone manufacturing growth slowed more than initially thought last month, a business survey showed on Monday, likely fueling expectations that the European Central Bank will ease policy this week.

South Korea's LS-Nikko Copper plans to restart its No.2 plant this week, a company spokesman said on Monday, after the smelter was closed for almost a month following an explosion that injured eight workers.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's CEO will be in Indonesia this week for talks to resolve the U.S. miner's impasse with the government over exports from its giant Grasberg copper and gold mine that have halted since January.

LME nickel advanced 1.51 percent to $19,540 a tonne, adding to May's 5-percent gains and bringing the total so far this year to nearly 40 percent, backed by supply concerns after Indonesia's ban on ore exports in January.

Soothing worries about alternative supplies, a New Caledonia local government said on Monday it has allowed the restart of Brazil-based Vale's nickel mine operations under several conditions, after an effluent spill caused officials to close the plant more than three weeks ago.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Three month LME tin

(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney, editing by William Hardy)