LONDON - Copper prices retreated from one-month highs on Tuesday under pressure from a stronger dollar and Chinese trade data suggesting that economic recovery in the world's biggest consumer remains uneven.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 1% to $8,159 per metric ton by 1120 GMT after reaching $8,260 on Monday for its highest since Oct. 2.
A stronger U.S. currency, which makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies, was weighing on prices of industrial metals.
China's imports grew unexpectedly in October while exports contracted at a quicker pace, highlighting the challenges the world's second-largest economy faces at home and abroad.
"China’s recovery is still uncertain and metals are likely to see some continued volatility for a while, at least in the near term," said ING commodities strategist Ewa Manthey.
"Until the market sees signs of a sustainable recovery and economic growth in China, we will struggle to see a long-term move higher for industrial metals."
China's October imports of unwrought copper and copper ores both rose from a year ago, but Manthey said that was partly because of the low base from the same period last year when the country was still under lockdown.
Looking ahead, clues to Chinese demand will come from loan data due over the next few days. Among the most closely watched by metals markets will be data on total social financing.
Worries about demand and lack of concern over refined copper supply has created a large discount for cash copper over the three-month contract . The discount has climbed to a 31-year high around $84 a ton.
In other metals, aluminium declined 1% to $2,263 a ton, nickel shed 2.5% to $17,985, zinc lost 0.7% to $2,554 and lead eased by 0.3% to $2,174 while tin was down 1.2% at $24,380.
(Reporting by Julian Luk in London, Editing by David Goodman)