Base metals held steady on Wednesday as weak retail sales data from top consumer China took the shine off upbeat industrial output and investment figures in the country.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended 0.3 per cent higher at $US6,090 a tonne.
The metal used in power and construction was marginally lower in early trade.
‘It has a bit to do with the negative reaction to retail sales in China and that stock markets there had been down and also the ferrous metals complex was a bit weaker,’ an analyst said.
Retail sales in China in October grew at their slowest pace since May, pointing to a consumption slowdown, even as a pick-up in industrial output and investment suggested support measures may be starting to take hold.
Meanwhile, a decline in oil prices late on Tuesday hit metals and other assets such as equities which are seen as risky, Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said.
Oil prices clawed back some losses on Wednesday after tanking around 7.0 per cent in the previous session as investors were scared off by surging supply and the spectre of faltering demand.
US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said ‘it’s pretty clear now’ that Trump would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month a day after China’s top trade negotiator Liu He said he could visit Washington to prepare for the talks.
Chinese copper smelters are looking to make more investments in mines, pushing to shore up supply of concentrate at a time when competition for the raw material is heating up, industry executives said.
China’s primary aluminium output fell for a third straight month in October, as low aluminium prices prompted smelters to cut production even before government-mandated winter restrictions kick in.
LME aluminium ended up 0.4 per cent to $US1,943 per tonne, after touching a 15-month low on Tuesday.
Steel output in China, the world’s top producer, hit record levels in October, rising for a third straight month as mills rushed to boost output ahead of winter production cuts.
The global lead market’s deficit ballooned to 21,400 tonnes in September while zinc narrowed its deficit to 54,700 tonnes.
The premium for cash zinc over the three-month contract was at $US56.50 a tonne, close to a one-year high of $US66.50 touched on Monday as concerns lingered over tight supplies on the LME.
Zinc inched 0.5 per cent higher at $US2,502 per tonne, lead edged up 0.1 per cent to $1,953, tin added 0.2 per cent to $US19,305 while nickel touched a fresh 11-month low, finished 0.3 per cent lower at $US11,315.