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Copper prices climb on weak U.S. inflation

(Updates prices)

By Zandi Shabalala

LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Copper firmed on Wednesday as the dollar dipped on lower-than-expected U.S. inflation figures that softened expectations for stimulus to be tapered soon, while aluminium was powered by further cuts to production in China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose for the first time this week, climbing 1.9% to $9,619 per tonne by 1600 GMT.

Copper and other base metals were mostly trading on macro economic factors such as the U.S. inflation figures, which lowered the likelihood of the Fed withdrawing liquidity soon, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for non-U.S. firms, a relationship used by funds to generate buy and sell signals.

Meanwhile, aluminium producer Shaanxi Nonferrous Yulin New Material will have to reduce its output by 50% in September as part of energy consumption controls, according to a local government document posted by consultancy MySteel.

The company, which has smelting capacity of around 600,000 tonnes per year, and a local official were not immediately able to comment on the document.

“A combination of strong (aluminium) demand and ongoing supply disruptions have caused prices to rally and are likely to keep the aluminum market tight and prices well bid into next year,” UBS analysts said.

Aluminium prices rose 2.5% to $2,900.50 per tonne.

CHINA DATA: Capping gains in most metals were faltering factory and retail activity in August in China, owing to new coronavirus outbreaks and supply disruptions.

Alastair Munro at broker Marex said the ongoing bearish macro sentiment seen in China’s below-expectation economic data could already be “largely built into current price levels”.

ALUMINIUM: China’s aluminium output in August slipped for a fourth straight month to 3.16 million tonnes, as restrictions on metal production and power usage in key smelting hubs kept supply tight.

SPREADS: LME copper and aluminium spreads remain in contango, indicating adequate nearby supply. <MAL0-3> <MCU0-3>

OTHER PRICES: Zinc added 0.9% to $3,080 a tonne and lead fell 1.8% to $2,232, after touching its lowest in over three months. Tin was up 1.9% at $34,040, while nickel rose 2% to $20,010.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click or (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Additional reporting by Tom Daly; editing by David Evans)


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