Copper prices dipped on Tuesday as traders exercised caution after physical demand in China, the world’s biggest consumer of metals, remained stagnant following a week-long holiday.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.2% at $9,195 a tonne by 0301 GMT, while the most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dipped 0.2% to 69,570 yuan ($10,301.02) a tonne.
Both copper contracts, however, are still set for a monthly gain, backed by a weaker U.S. dollar, rising inflows from funds and hopes that Chinese demand for the metal will improve following the removal of its strict COVID-19 restrictions.
China’s manufacturing activity swung back to growth in January, beating expectations, as a wave of COVID-19 infections passed through the country faster than expected.
LME aluminum fell 0.8% to $2,570 a tonne, zinc declined 0.3% to $3,435.50 a tonne, tin shed 1.4% to $29,400 a tonne while lead rose 0.4% to $2,169 a tonne.
SHFE aluminum eased 0.8% to 18,920 yuan a tonne, tin declined 1.4% to 235,390 yuan a tonne, lead eased 0.3% to 15,245 yuan a tonne while zinc rose 0.8% to 24,480 yuan a tonne.
SHFE nickel was up 1.2% at 221,930 yuan a tonne. Earlier in the session, it hit 223,290 yuan a tonne, its highest in 3-1/2 weeks, after Bloomberg reported that the Philippines may tax nickel exports.
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($1 = 6.7537 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)