SINGAPORE: London copper edged up on Thursday, reversing previous session's slight losses although a week-long holiday in top consumer China kept turnover light, while traders eyed a G20 meeting at the weekend for further trading cues.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged up 0.23 percent to $8,245 a tonne by 0301 GMT, after ending the previous session down 0.1 percent.
Copper hit a 4-month high of $8,346 a tonne on Feb. 4, but has since struggled to find momentum with the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed this week.
However, prices are up almost 4 percent so far this year on hopes demand will get a boost as a global economic revival takes hold.
"Markets are expecting China to restock, so copper prices will probably see a slight pick up after the Lunar New Year," commodities analyst Natalie Robertson of ANZ in Melbourne said, but added that there could be a little bit of choppiness ahead of the G20 meet this weekend.
"European GDP is also due today, so I think it will be macro driven for the next few days until China re-enters the market," she said.
Volumes were extremely low across the metals complex with less than 200 lots having changed hands in benchmark LME contracts.
"It's been pretty dire, currency led if anything, but with volumes so low its tough to call," a Hong Kong based trader said. "Overall prices are drifting a little, but there is an element of support, so we may push on next week if we hold above these levels," he added.
China, which accounts for 40 percent of the world's refined copper demand, will resume trading next week after its Lunar New Year break.
ALUMINIUM HOLDS NEAR 6-WEEK TOP
Aluminium prices held near a six-week high hit on Wednesday. Chart-based buying has improved the metal's technical picture, RBC Capital said in a note.
"Aluminium's next target will be the January high where a break and close above would set up a test of $2,200," it said.
LME aluminium, which hit a 3-1/2 month peak of $2,184 on Jan. 3, was trading up 0.22 percent at $2,145.75.
In other news, China's state-owned CITIC Group has bought a $452 million ($467 million) stake in Australia's Alumina Ltd, giving it an interest in the world's largest alumina business at a time when China has grown more dependent on alumina imports.
China's imports of the material used to make aluminium jumped by 165 percent last year in part due to uncertainty over Indonesian supply of bauxite, the raw material for alumina.