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China industrial output data helps copper to 6-week high

Kitco News

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Copper prices touched a near-six week high on Wednesday after positive industrial production data from top consumer China boosted sentiment, but gains were constrained by weakness in the country's property sector and a higher dollar.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange traded 0.5% higher at $8,276 a metric ton at 1701 GMT after earlier hitting $8,291, the highest since Oct. 2.

China's industrial output rose 4.6% in October year-on-year, above the consensus for a 4.4% increase and the strongest since April. But its crisis-hit property sector has yet to see a meaningful rebound despite support measures for homebuyers including lower borrowing costs.

"Some hopeful signs in Chinese data and talk of further measures for China's property sector are supporting," a trader said. "But doubts about demand remain and the higher dollar is weighing."

A rising U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals more expensive for holders of other currencies, which could subdue demand. On the technical front, upside resistance for copper comes in at $8,285, the 100-day moving average, while support is at $8,149, the 50-day moving average.

Elsewhere, zinc touched a six-month high of $2,667.5 a ton after breaking through strong technical resistance at $2,605, the 200-day moving average. It was last up 1.7% at $2,645.

Zinc has been boosted by falling stocks in LME approved warehouses, which at 68,125 tons have dropped by more than 50% since the start of September.

Cancelled warrants - metal earmarked for delivery - at 30% indicate more zinc is due to leave the LME system.

Falling stocks and large holdings of zinc warrants are behind the premium for the December contracts over the three-month and January contracts at around $3 and $8 a ton respectively.

Aluminium was little changed at $2,230, lead advanced 1.7% to $2,239 a ton, tin rose 0.4% to $25,310 and nickel slipped 0.3% to $17,430 a ton.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)

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