Copper claws higher on softer dollar, hopes for China stimulus

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.1%

  

LONDON- Copper prices rebounded on Monday, lifted by a weaker dollar, hopes for more stimulus in China after weak factory data and prospects for a strike in top producer Chile.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.1% to $9,735 a tonne at 1400 GMT, after falling by 1% on Friday.

China's factory activity expanded in July at the slowest pace in 17 months, according to the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI).

"Copper is being supported by expectations of looser fiscal policy from China, which is slowing down, confirmed by the weak PMI, and also by supply tightness after the recent floods in China," said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

"The outlook for all base metals is bullish in August, supported by a weaker dollar after the latest dovish comments from the Fed. There are all the conditions for a spike higher."

Torlizzi said he had taken bullish positions in copper, aluminium and nickel recently and was targeting copper revisiting its record peak of $10,747.50, aluminium climbing to $2,700 and nickel rising to $21,000.

LME aluminium rose 1.2% to $2,621 a tonne, while nickel advanced 0.4% to $19,620.

* Unwinding relative value trades has also bolstered industrial metals, such as selling a long position in oil and buying back a short position in copper or other metals, Alistair Munro at broker Marex said in a note.

* The dollar index lurched back towards the one-month lows hit last week, making dollar-priced metals cheaper to holders of other currencies. 

* The union of workers at BHP Group Ltd's Escondida copper mine, the world's largest, rejected the firm's final labour contract offer. 

* The U.S. Senate will try to complete work this week on a $1 trillion infrastructure investment bill. 

* LME cash zinc has moved to a premium of $1.50 over the three month contract, the first time in over a year it has been more expensive, indicating tighter supply conditions.

* LME zinc rose 0.6% to $3,044 a tonne, lead CMPB3 gained 0.5% to $2,393.50 and tin climbed 0.9% to $34,950.

(Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi Editing by Mark Potter) ((eric.onstad@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7093; Twitter https://twitter.com/reutersEricO; Reuters Messaging: eric.onstad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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