LONDON: Copper fell on Friday as the dollar rose after the US Federal Reserve flagged concerns about the risks of its stimulative monetary policy, but falls in metals were limited by data showing US jobs growth in line with forecasts.
The minutes from the US central bank's December policy meeting, published on Thursday, showed some policymakers want to slow or stop its asset purchase plan before the end of this year, due to worries about financial stability.
The Fed's monetary easing programme has been a big factor underpinning risk appetite, and has kept the US currency supported.
But the dollar pared gains after data showed the pace of hiring by US employers eased slightly in December, growing by 155,000 last month, broadly in line with analysts forecasts.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange traded at $8,085 a tonne at the close, down from a close of $8,154 on Thursday. It bounced off its intraday lows of $8,058 following the release of the US employment data.
"The non-farm payroll numbers are in-line with forecasts and we saw markets lift slightly just after the release came out, but the numbers did not really surprise one way or the other," said Edward Meir, analyst at INTL FCStone.
"So the focus now turns back to the US fiscal issues that are left outstanding and the surprising minutes from the Fed."
A stronger dollar makes dollar-based assets more expensive for non-dollar investors.
Copper is still heading for a 2.9 percent gain this week, after surging to its highest in more than two months on Wednesday in a broad financial markets rally after the US Congress struck a deal to avert automatic spending cuts and tax hikes.
"I guess there was some exuberance, because the US did not fall off the cliff. But there is not much consumer business at the moment and none of the physical players are rushing back into the market and booking metal," Citi analyst David Wilson said. "We need to settle and get more positive macro data under our belts to see in which direction we're heading."
CHINA DATA EYED
Next week, China is expected to release data on inflation, trade and new loans, which will offer insight into the health of an economy that is a top consumer of many raw materials, including copper.
"We won't see the high-speed growth in China as in the past," said a Shanghai-based trader. "We are still in the post-crisis mode and the global recovery is slow and fragile, which doesn't support a major rally in copper."
In other metals, three-month zinc was untraded, but bid at $2,040 from $2,088 at the close on Thursday, lead closed at $2,335 from a last bid of $2,399 and aluminium was last bid at $2,060 from $2,116.
Nickel closed at $17,350 from $17,500 and tin at $23,800 from $23,980.
Center>Copyright Reuters, 2013