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Copper rises on U.S. jobs growth and China tariff rollback

Kitco News

By Zandi Shabalala

LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose sharply on Friday after data unexpectedly showed U.S. employment rose at the fastest rate in 10 months in November, suggested the economy was not in danger of stalling.


The numbers caused a rally in global equities and came after China said it would waive import tariffs on some U.S. goods, raising hopes that an economically damaging trade dispute may ease. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended up 1.7% at $5,990 a tonne, its biggest one-day gain since Sept. 17. It was up around 2% for the week.


However, the metal used in power and construction is still down nearly 20% from highs in June 2018, with investors nervous about trade barriers and weak demand for commodities.


"This week there was some good progress made on the trade front, but the risk remains high," said WisdomTree commodity strategist Nitesh Shah.


POSITIONING: Broker Marex Spectron estimates the net speculative long position in Comex copper at 1.9% of open interest, or 3,900 lots. Positioning has ranged this year from a long of 52,000 lots in March to a short of 36,000 lots in May, Marex said in a note.

TRADE WAR: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said a Dec. 15 deadline was still in place for a new round of U.S. tariffs set to kick in on Chinese goods, but that U.S. President Donald Trump likes where talks with China are going. Trump said on Thursday trade negotiations were "moving right along". CHINA GROWTH: China will keep its economic growth within a reasonable range in 2020, with more "forwarding-looking, targeted and effective" policies that also fend off risks, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party said.

GERMAN DATA: Germany's industrial output dropped unexpectedly in October, reviving worries about its economic growth outlook. INVENTORIES: On-warrant stocks of LME copper were down 200 tonnes at 113,400 tonnes, the lowest since March 14. COPPER SPREADS: The discount of LME cash copper to the three-month contract was at $28 a tonne, near its highest since mid-October, pointing to tighter nearby supply.


NICKEL: Indonesia expects to have total annual nickel capacity of nearly 70 million tonnes by 2022, compared with a November projection of 91 million tonnes in 2021. PRICES: LME aluminium closed up 1% at $1,765 a tonne, zinc ended 0.2% higher at $2,238, nickel gained 1.5% to $13,475 and tin rose 1.6% to $17,075. Lead bucked the trend, falling 0.7% to $1,892 a tonne.


(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala Editing by David Goodman and Louise Heavens)


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