Australia Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia.html Mon, 02 May 2016 21:21:07 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb London copper hits 1-month high, buoyed by commodity gains http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291741-london-copper-hits-1-month-high-buoyed-by-commodity-gains.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291741-london-copper-hits-1-month-high-buoyed-by-commodity-gains.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper hit its highest in almost a month on Thursday, after strong gains in oil the session before stoked investor appetite for commodities, already supported by signs of a brightening picture for global growth.

"Positive gains on equity markets combined with stronger oil prices provided some support for base metal markets," ANZ said in a research note.

"Rising risk appetite should continue to support most commodity markets."

World stock markets climbed to their highest in almost five months on Thursday after a surge in oil prices boosted risk appetite, while the euro steadied ahead of a European Central Bank meeting.

Improving data out of China since the start of the year, including industrial output, property and lending has also helped to lift sentiment towards commodities.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange struck its highest since March 23 at $5,029 a tonne, before trimming gains to 0.2 percent at $4,990 by 0816 GMT. Prices gained 0.9 percent on Wednesday.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper climbed half a percent to 38,100 yuan ($5,881) a tonne.

"(Sentiment) is strong on metals. They held well when oil dropped on Monday and rallied again when it also rallied," said a trader in Hong Kong.

After 4-percent gains on Wednesday, crude prices eased on Thursday as concerns over a global glut took centre stage after Russia and Iran said they were ready to raise oil production further, while inventories in the United States climbed slightly.

But brightening the broader economic outlook, U.S. home resales rebounded more than expected in March as supply improved, suggesting the housing market recovery remained intact despite signs that economic growth probably stalled in the first quarter.

China will take steps to boost exports, including encouraging banks to boost lending, expanding export credit insurance and raise tax rebates for some firms, the cabinet said on Wednesday, in the latest step to underpin growth.

Meanwhile, the global world refined copper market showed a 56,000-tonne surplus in January, compared with a 50,000-tonne deficit in December, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said in its latest monthly bulletin.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Australia Thu, 21 Apr 2016 14:53:51 +0000
Recent iron ore, coal price gains not sustainable http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291608-recent-iron-ore-coal-price-gains-not-sustainable.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291608-recent-iron-ore-coal-price-gains-not-sustainable.html imageMELBOURNE: BHP Billiton does not expect recent rises in iron ore and coal prices to hold for more than a few months, as the uptick in prices would bring more supply to the market, its Australian chief said on Thursday.

"I wish I could stand here and say this is going to be sustainable.

I don't think it is going to be," BHP Billiton Minerals Australia president Mike Henry told the Melbourne Mining Club.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Australia Thu, 21 Apr 2016 04:23:57 +0000
London copper drifts from near 3-week high touched on China outlook http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291436-london-copper-drifts-from-near-3-week-high-touched-on-china-outlook.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291436-london-copper-drifts-from-near-3-week-high-touched-on-china-outlook.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper drifted from near a three-week high on Wednesday after a reversal in crude oil prices dented sentiment, but a stream of encouraging signals on China's economy fostered a less bearish outlook on prices.

China's industrial output surprised to the upside last month, while rising property prices suggested an economic recovery is taking root. "Overall, everyone is still looking at China - the March results are quite good you can see signs of economic stabilization," said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

"The USD weakness and oil price rebound were probably the two major drivers for yesterday's move in copper prices. On the demand side, we think it will be sustainable through second quarter."

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped by 0.2 percent to $4,927 a tonne by 0800 GMT, having earlier chimed in at the highest since March 29 at $4,953, and following an advance of 2.3 percent from the previous session. A close above the 200-day moving average has also brightened its technical picture.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper traded at 37,360 yuan ($5,779) up 1.2 percent but down from an intraday high.

The US dollar held near 10-month lows against some commodity currencies on growing appetite for risky assets after it lost further ground to the euro after weak US economic data reinforced views that Federal Reserve monetary policy would remain dovish.

US housing starts fell more than expected in March and permits for future home construction hit a one-year low, suggesting some cooling in the housing market in line with signs of a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter. A reversal in the oil price soured sentiment towards commodities.

Crude futures fell on Wednesday, following a more than 3 percent gain in the second before, after Kuwaiti oil workers ended a three-day strike that had cut the nation's crude output by around half, with worries about an over-supplied market returning to the fore.

Elsewhere, confidence among Japanese manufacturers rose in April but is expected to worsen again in the coming three months, a Reuters poll found on Wednesday, reflecting concerns about the yen's rise and tepid overseas demand.

In news, mining giant BHP Billiton followed rival Rio Tinto in trimming its iron ore output guidance on Wednesday, helping to ease pressure on an oversupplied market.

Also the total net long position of funds trading copper on the LME fell to 28,694 lots last Friday from a net long position of 30,092 lots the previous week, the LME's Commitments of Traders Report (COTR) showed on Tuesday.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Australia Wed, 20 Apr 2016 08:40:52 +0000
London copper buoyed near 3 week high as China outlook appears to brighten http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291379-london-copper-buoyed-near-3-week-high-as-china-outlook-appears-to-brighten.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291379-london-copper-buoyed-near-3-week-high-as-china-outlook-appears-to-brighten.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper floated near a three-week high on Wednesday after a stream of encouraging signals on China's economy and a revival in oil prices lifted sentiment towards commodities.

China's industrial output surprised to the upside last month, while rising property prices suggested an economic recovery is taking root.

"Overall, everyone is still looking at China - the March results are quite good you can see signs of economic stabilization," said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

"The USD weakness and oil price rebound were probably the two major drivers for yesterday's move in copper prices. On the demand side, we think it will be sustainable through second quarter."

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was flat at $4,936 a tonne by 0210 GMT, holding a 2.3-percent advance from the previous session when prices rose to the highest since March 29 at $4,951 a tonne. A close above the 200-day moving average has also brightened its technical picture.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper traded at 37,530 yuan ($5,807), up 1.7 percent but down from an intraday high.

The US dollar held near 10-month lows against some commodity currencies on growing appetite for risky assets after it lost further ground to the euro after weak US economic data reinforced views that Federal Reserve monetary policy would remain dovish.

US housing starts fell more than expected in March and permits for future home construction hit a one-year low, suggesting some cooling in the housing market in line with signs of a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter.

A recovery in the oil price has burnished sentiment towards commodities.

Oil prices jumped more than 3 percent on Tuesday after a strike by workers in Kuwait nearly halved the OPEC member's crude production, overshadowing bearish sentiment after Sunday's failure by producers to agree to freeze output levels.

Elsewhere. Confidence among Japanese manufacturers rose in April but is expected to worsen again in the coming three months, a Reuters poll found on Wednesday, reflecting concerns about the yen's rise and tepid overseas demand.

The United States and seven other countries on Tuesday called for urgent action to address global steel overcapacity, a day after major steel producing countries failed to agree on measures to tackle an industry crisis.

In news, the total net long position of funds trading copper on the LME fell to 28,694 lots last Friday from a net long position of 30,092 lots the previous week, the LME's Commitments of Traders Report (COTR) showed on Tuesday.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Australia Wed, 20 Apr 2016 04:01:31 +0000
London copper edges lower; China optimism, oil lend support http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291248-london-copper-edges-lower;-china-optimism-oil-lend-support.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/291248-london-copper-edges-lower;-china-optimism-oil-lend-support.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper slipped on Tuesday, but losses were limited as a slew of supportive economic signals out of China painted an encouraging picture for demand, and risk appetite improved after a strong performance by the oil market.

China's leaders sound more confident that the world's second-largest economy has arrested a slide in growth to quarter-century lows, after industrial and housing gauges most recently surprised to the upside last week.

"There seems to be a general wave of more positive sentiment across the commodity asset class as a whole, largely driven by generally positive data in China, and also interestingly by moves in markets like oil," said analyst Mark Keenan of Societe Generale in Singapore.

"There seems to be a widespread consensus that the low in the oil market is in place, and that is quite an important foundation in the asset class for people to start to considering increasing allocation to commodities," he added.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday as a strike in Kuwait cut huge amounts of crude out of the supply chain, but analysts said the disruption would be short lived and that markets would soon refocus on a global supply glut

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange eased by 0.2 percent to $4,819 a tonne by 0830 GMT, eroding a 0.4 percent gain from the previous session.

Prices are consolidating in a narrow band of $4,750 to $4,850, having tipped a four-and-a-half month top at $5,131 a tonne on March 18.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper finished up 0.3 percent at 36,940 yuan ($5,708) a tonne.

LME nickel fell 1.5 percent, paring a 2.6 percent rally in the previous session.

LME nickel has been lifted by a recovery in steel that has also helped LME zinc strike its highest since last August.

China and other major steel-producing countries failed on Monday to agree measures to tackle a global steel crisis as the sides argued over the causes of overcapacity and whether Beijing is keeping loss-making producers afloat.

Talk of stockpiling by China's state buyer and a 24 percent reduction in China's nickel output in the first two months of the year have also added fuel to nickel's gains.

But a resumption of dollar strength still has the capacity to knock the wind out of the sector's sails.

The Federal Reserve is set to hike interest rates more rapidly than investors currently expect, a top Fed official said on Monday, again pushing back on what he said was investors' too pessimistic view of the U.S. economy and monetary policy.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Australia Tue, 19 Apr 2016 14:04:48 +0000
London copper heads for biggest weekly rise in six weeks http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/290631-london-copper-heads-for-biggest-weekly-rise-in-six-weeks.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/290631-london-copper-heads-for-biggest-weekly-rise-in-six-weeks.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper was steady on Friday, but was on track to post its biggest weekly rise in six weeks on signs that growth in China could be stabilising after first quarter growth hit forecasts and other indicators surprised to the upside.

China's economy grew 6.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, meeting expectations and providing additional evidence that a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy may be bottoming out.

"It's another data point moving in the right direction, which in a way markets have been pricing in - certainly the commodity markets in the past few weeks", said analyst Daniel Hynes at ANZ in Sydney "I think markets should be relatively buoyed with it.

I wouldn't expect to see things run away from us here, but I think there are signs that we have found a floor."

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was steady at $4,826.50 a tonne by 0237 GMT after closing little changed in the previous session. Prices were on track for a 4 percent weekly gain, the largest since the week of March 4.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper edged up 0.2 at 37,010 yuan ($5,711) a tonne.

Indicators for metals demand were encouraging. Industrial output growth in March quickened to 6.8 percent, surprising analysts who expected it to rise 5.9 percent on an annual basis.

China's real estate investment rose 6.2 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, with the amount of physical property sold rising by 33.1 percent.

Chinese banks made 1.37 trillion yuan ($211.23 billion) in new local-currency loans in March, beating analyst expectations, as the central bank seeks to keep policy accommodative to underpin the slowing economy.

China has agreed to scrap some export subsidies on a range of products from metals to agriculture and textiles, the United States said on Thursday, in a step by Beijing to reduce trade frictions with Washington.

China's bold deal to ditch its disputed export tax rebates on some niche aluminium and steel products could flood the saturated global market, as producers scramble to sell excess metal ahead of the changes, prolonging the industry's pain, traders said.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Australia Fri, 15 Apr 2016 04:18:19 +0000
Copper edges back from 2-week highs, China optimism supports http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/290426-copper-edges-back-from-2-week-highs-china-optimism-supports.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/290426-copper-edges-back-from-2-week-highs-china-optimism-supports.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper eased on Thursday, but prices did not stray far from near two-week highs on the back of this week's better-than-expected Chinese trade data, which has raised hopes that the world's No. 2 economy may be stabilising.

Asian markets were still basking in the afterglow of Chinese exports that jumped 11.5 percent year-on-year in March, the first increase since June and well above market forecasts.

"The proof is in the pudding. We've seen a steady improvement in China's economic numbers for six months or so now," said analyst Dan Hynes of ANZ in Sydney.

More supportive news could come as soon as Friday, when China reports industrial production for March and first quarter economic growth.

"We see the environment as being broadly positive. There'll be some ups and downs over the next few months, but it's certainly trending upwards and that will obviously be supportive for commodity prices in the shorter term," Hynes added.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had eased 0.3 percent to $4,818 a tonne by 0316 GMT, after gaining 1.4 percent in the previous session and striking its highest since April 1 at $4,855.

Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) copper held 0.8-percent gains at 36,970 yuan ($5,7001) a tonne.

China imported a monthly record for copper stocks in March, as the price gap between LME and ShFE stocks favoured imports, which were also encouraged by cheaper storage terms in China, rather than revealing a surge in consumer demand, traders said.

"The hefty increase of ShFE stocks is actually the results of the arb window opening before Chinese New Year," said a copper trader in Shanghai, referring to the window for arbitrage.

"People locked in the ratio and booked the cargo before (Lunar) New Year but did the imports in March. I do not think real demand is extraordinarily strong at the moment."

ShFE zinc rallied 2 percent, adding to 5-percent gains in the session before on bets that improving demand will outstrip fragile supply.

Elsewhere, CME Group Inc will shut its New York trading floor at year's end as computerized trading claims another victim from the world's old-school financial system.

The LME operates the last open outcry floor in Europe.

Alcoa Inc has agreed to a new power deal for its 279,000 tonne-per-year Intalco aluminum smelter, according to a statement from its power supplier, potentially staving off closure of one of the last remaining US aluminum plants.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Australia Thu, 14 Apr 2016 03:54:28 +0000
London copper hits highest in nearly 2 weeks as China imports surge http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/290223-london-copper-hits-highest-in-nearly-2-weeks-as-china-imports-surge.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/290223-london-copper-hits-highest-in-nearly-2-weeks-as-china-imports-surge.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper hit its highest in almost a fortnight on Wednesday and Shanghai metals surged as strong Chinese copper imports in March built on gains fueled by a falling dollar.

China's March exports blew past analyst expectations, rising 11.5 pct from a year earlier, the first increase since June and the largest rise since Feb 2015, adding to encouraging signals in the world's second-biggest economy.

China's copper imports shot up by more than a third from the same month last year to a monthly record-high.

The stronger-than-expected import and export growth added to evidence of economic recovery in China, said analyst Helen Lau of Argnonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

"But (on copper) because exchange inventories are very high, that might indicate that China imported too much.

Imports in April may come off because of the strong March levels," she said.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had jumped 0.7 percent to $4,798.50 by 0309 GMT, adding to 2.2-percent gains from the previous session.

Prices earlier struck the highest since April 1 at $4,855 a tonne.

"We were not expecting this," said a source at a trade house in Singapore. "It looks to me like macro factors are in ascendance. Copper had an important bounce from some technical levels. Onward and upward is probably the path of least resistance."

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper jumped by as much as 4 percent before trimming gains to 36,810 yuan ($5,692) a tonne, still up 2.6 percent, with a clean break back above the 200-day moving average brightening its technical picture.

China's imports of copper rose 35.7 percent from a month ago to 570,000 tonnes in March, customer data showed.

But much of that influx was moved into storage.

ShFE inventories hit a string of record highs in March. China's aluminium exports also rose, having dampened down in January and February after low prices caused producers to trim output.

It exported 420,000 tonnes of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products in March, up from February's 280,000 tonnes.

Rising aluminium prices are enticing smelters in top producer China to restart output, a decision that may snuff out the metal's rally from record lows and stoke global trade tensions. Shanghai zinc was a star performer, up as much as 5 percent.

It made a clear break of the 200-day moving average, which fuelled buying by momentum-following funds, and on worries that its already fragile supply pipeline was narrowing.

Hindustan Zinc's fourth quarter mined metal production fell 30 pct to 188,000 tonnes, it said this week.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Australia Wed, 13 Apr 2016 03:47:43 +0000
London copper hits one-month low as support crumbles http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/289347-london-copper-hits-one-month-low-as-support-crumbles.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/289347-london-copper-hits-one-month-low-as-support-crumbles.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper dropped to a one-month low on Thursday, as simmering demand concerns undermined prices that, having broken a key chart support, came under further selling pressure.

Prices fell through support around $4,770 a tonne to the weakest since early March. Traders and analysts said there was no clear reason behind the move, but break-in support had triggered technical selling.

"Copper fell below $4,750 which triggered further selling pressure," said analyst Eugen Weinberg at Commerzbank.

Copper prices had earlier found support as minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting showing caution among policymakers on raising U.S. interest rates knocked down the dollar and underpinned metal prices.

The U.S. central bank appears unlikely to raise rates before June amid concerns over its limited ability to counter the blow of a global economic slowdown, minutes from the March 15-16 policy meeting suggest.

The Fed's caution hit the dollar, which was pinned at 94.420 against a basket of currencies, near its lowest since October. Metals priced in the greenback become cheaper for buyers paying with other currencies when the dollar falls.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 1.3 percent at $4,726 a tonne by 0802 GMT. Earlier in the session prices hit the lowest since March 2 at $4,722.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper closed down 0.2 percent at 36,650 yuan ($5,664) a tonne.

But copper prices will be contained in the medium term given headwinds to Chinese demand, BMI Research said in a note.

"Prices will be prevented from rallying more strongly by continued disappointing China economic data and a further depreciation of the Chinese yuan," wrote BMI Research, which expects copper to average $4,900 per tonne in 2016.

However, a recent Reuters poll shows the economy at the world's top copper consumer may be stabilising.

China's exports likely returned to growth for the first time in nine months in March while the pace of bank lending may have picked up, according to the poll.

Selling in copper ramped pressure on other metals, including zinc, which fell 2 percent to $1,771 a tonne.

Among other metals, LME aluminium held on to most of its more than 1 percent loss from the prior two sessions. Prices have been hit hard by a China-driven supply overhang.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said it has launched an investigation into the U.S. aluminium industry and global trade in the metal, a move that analysts said was aimed at staunching a steady flow of Chinese exports.

"The principal driver of exports is China's oversupply. That's not likely to change in the near term because production is still well over demand," said Paul Adkins, managing director of Beijing-based consultancy AZ China.

In nickel, New Caledonia said will allow two companies to export ore to China, ending a long-standing ban as its economy wrestles with weak commodity prices and the potential loss of a struggling Australian customer.

More supply of nickel ore will cut into demand for refined nickel from China's huge stainless steel industry.

LME nickel fell 1 percent to $8,505 a tonne.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Australia Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:50:32 +0000
London copper hits more than two-week low on slowdown worries http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/287592-london-copper-hits-more-than-two-week-low-on-slowdown-worries.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/287592-london-copper-hits-more-than-two-week-low-on-slowdown-worries.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper slipped to a more than two-week low on Wednesday on simmering concerns over global economic growth, although a softer dollar after the U.S. Federal Reserve chair stressed the need for caution on interest rate hikes checked losses.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank should proceed only cautiously as it looks to raise rates, pushing back on a handful of her colleagues who suggested another move may be just around the corner.

The comment had a dual impact of underlining frailties in global growth prospects, adding to economic worries, but also undermining the dollar which offered a reprieve to commodities priced in the greenback.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.2 percent at $4,883 a tonne by 0352 GMT, off an intraday low of $4,873, the weakest since March 11. Prices had risen to as much as $4,930 earlier in the session.

"There's definitely room to go lower for copper," said Dominic Schnider of UBS Wealth Management in Hong Kong. "I think copper prices will go back below $4,500."

Gains are not sustainable as expectations of firmer demand at top consumer China are misplaced, Schnider added. Green shoots in the country's housing market will not be enough to trigger a rebound in copper prices that are also struggling under the weight of near-record exchange stocks, he said.

Activity in China's manufacturing sector likely shrank for an eighth month in March, but at a slower pace than in February as a reviving property market boosted sales of steel and other construction materials, economists polled by Reuters said.

The forecast rise of 49.3, however, is still below the 50.0 mark which separates expansion from contraction.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper fell 1.5 percent to 37,160 yuan ($5,730.50) a tonne, off the day's low of 37,150 yuan - the weakest since March 16.

"China's copper cathode market has displayed clear softening signals in March," said Standard Chartered in a note.

China's bonded copper stocks have risen 100,000 in March to 500,000, while Shanghai stocks doubled year-to-date to just under 400,000 earlier in March, it noted.

"We think that the current state of demand in China will contribute to some cathode destocking onshore in April-May and weaker imports in Q2."

Reflecting a weaker turn in Asian economic growth, Japan's factory output in February fell the most since 2011, while the Asian Development Bank slashed its economic growth forecast for developing Asia this year, citing global headwinds and a weaker outlook for China.

In other metals, Shanghai tin and nickel fell falling more than 3 and 2 percent, respectively.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Australia Wed, 30 Mar 2016 06:13:44 +0000
London copper slips but signs of China housing recovery support http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/286625-london-copper-slips-but-signs-of-china-housing-recovery-support.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/commodities/australia/286625-london-copper-slips-but-signs-of-china-housing-recovery-support.html imageMELBOURNE: London copper edged lower on Wednesday as the dollar held firm but was underpinned by signs of a revival in China's housing market, with trade beginning to tail off ahead of Easter holidays later this week.

Asian markets were consolidating gains on the back of a brightening economic outlook, despite a spike in risk aversion after several bomb blasts in Brussels.

On a fundamental basis, supply cuts by firms like Glencore and Freeport McMoRan will help tip the global copper market into deficit and shore up prices, BMI Research said in a note.

"Based on the market shifting into deficit, copper prices will find a floor in the first half of 2016, averaging $4,900 a tonne for the year and (will )stabilise thereafter," BMI said.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped by 0.5 percent to $5,037.50 a tonne by 0700 GMT, after closing little changed in the previous session.

Prices are hovering below a 4-1/2 month top of $5,131 a tonne touched on Friday when data showed home prices in China climbed at their fastest pace in almost two years in February. Prices in smaller cities also marked their first increase since 2014.

Trading is expected to dwindle ahead of the long Easter break that begins on Friday.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper fell 0.2 percent to 38,160 yuan ($5,875) a tonne.

Output cuts were also coming from China. Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd , China's biggest integrated copper producer, said it plans to cut refined copper output by 6.7 percent this year, in line with a proposal by the country's big smelters to reduce output to support prices.

The move would cut production by 80,000 tonnes to 1.175 million tonnes, and follows a pledge last week by No. 2 producer Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group 000630.SZ to reduce output by 110,000 tonnes.

China's copper stockpiles have bulged to records after a gap between ShFE and LME prices encouraged imports late last year.

"We have copper premiums in Shanghai being offered at May16 date for $50 with not much interest from buyers. This is the lowest premiums have been in the past 4 years," Triland said in a note.

In news, China's campaign to slim down its bloated industries could be derailed by more than $1.5 trillion of debt in its steel, coal, cement and non-ferrous metal sectors, which threatens to overwhelm local banks.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Australia Wed, 23 Mar 2016 09:10:31 +0000