Copper edged up Monday on expectations of higher demand from top consumer China after a report showed a resilient economy despite a modest monthly decline in manufacturing activity.
Benchmark copper rose 0.5 percent to $6,829 per tonne by 10:50 GMT, edging away from a two-week low touched on Friday. The metal shed 2.4 percent on Friday in its worst performance since early February.
Growth in China’s vast manufacturing sector eased only slightly in April in a sign of broad economic resilience, though slowing export orders pointed to risks to the outlook amid a simmering Sino-U.S. trade row.
It marked the 21st straight month of expanding business conditions in China.
“The Chinese data is probably the main catalyst for the rise (in copper),” said Nitesh Shah, ETF Securities analyst.
“But there is also a dose of volatility in metals, with the uncertainty surrounding steel and aluminum about whether there will be exemptions for European countries.”
The United States imposed import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March, but it provided a temporary exemption until May 1 for the EU. President Donald Trump will decide then whether to make the exemption permanent.
Total stocks of aluminium in LME-approved warehouses fell 8,575 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes. About 69 percent of that is available to the market. The aluminium market deficits are set to deepen, but the market is likely to rebalance once the dust settles after U.S. sanctions on Russian producer Rusal, leaving prices little changed, a Reuters poll showed.
Aluminium was flat at $2,221.50 per tonne, after clocking its worst week since November 2008, down 10 percent.
Benchmark lead for nickel added 0.5 percent to $2,358.50, tin added 1 percent to $21,100, zinc added 1.7 percent to $3,174 and nickel was flat at $13,870.