5 Min Read
* Metals up after Bernanke says recession likely over
* Soft dlr adds to feel-good factor; too soon to celebrate
* Copper up 1 pct, lead 2 pct, but off recent peak
By Nick Trevethan
SINGAPORE, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Copper prices in London and Shanghai rose 1 percent on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. recession was probably over, a sentiment reinforced by strong retail and manufacturing data.
But a year after the Lehman Brothers collapse, Bernanke said the recovery would be slow and it would take time to create jobs.
"Even though from a technical perspective the recession is very likely over at this point, it's still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time," Bernanke said after addressing a Brookings Institution conference.
U.S. retail sales grow at their fastest pace in 3-½ years in August, New York State manufacturing activity hit a near two-year high in September, all of which kept the dollar under pressure, trading near $1.47, its lowest this year versus the euro EUR=. [ID:nN1576055] [ID:nN15548319]
"Is it time to start popping champagne corks? Probably not quite yet," a dealer in Singapore said.
"Bernanke was still pretty cautious and Americans are still worried about their jobs, their homes and paying their bills so a consumer-led boom is still far in the future."
Nevertheless three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange MCU3 rose $65 to $6,275 a tonne by 0251 GMT, up 1.8 percent from where it had stood when Shanghai closed on Tuesday and around its highest since Friday.
"The copper price has traded mostly in the $6,000 to $6,400 range," said David Moore, commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a report.
"Recent increases in exchange copper stocks and a moderation in China's refined copper imports have limited the upside to the copper price. And in our view, leave some downside risk over the balance of 2009."
On the stocks front, LME copper inventories rose 2,750 tonnes on Tuesday to 322,550 tonnes, up by nearly a quarter since July. Early expectations were for weekly Shanghai copper stocks to be flat to slightly lower when data is released on Friday. <0#SGH-STOCKS>
Last week stocks hit their highest in two years. "Chinese consumers are buying Shanghai metal rather than importing, one reason why we might see a decline in stocks," a Shanghai-based trader said.
The new third month contract in Shanghai, December SCFc3 rose 1 percent to 48,860 yuan a tonne while the most-active fourth month SCFc4 gained similarly at 48,750 yuan.
"There is some interest from domestic consumers but it's pretty slow," a trader in Shanghai said.
"But there is still a lot of speculative activity, though its its all day trading and those short-term guys are just playing off the moves in London."
Other metals also rose with lead MPB3 heading the pack, up 1.9 percent at $2,208, though quite a way off last week's 16-month high of $2,511. On Thursday lead prices slumped 12 percent, their biggest one-day decline on record. Base metals prices at 0251 GMT Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2008 Pct chg 09 LME Cu 6275.00 65.00 +1.05 3060.00 105.07 SHFE Cu* 48860.00 480.00 +0.99 23840.00 104.95 LME Alum 1861.00 6.00 +0.32 1535.00 21.24 SHFE Alum* 14920.00 60.00 +0.40 11540.00 29.29 COMEX Cu** 284.95 2.10 +0.74 139.50 104.27 LME Zinc 1868.00 7.00 +0.38 1208.00 54.64 SHFE Zinc 15195.00 45.00 +0.30 10120.00 50.15 LME Nickel 17000.00 250.00 +1.49 11700.00 45.30 LME Lead 2208.00 41.50 +1.92 999.00 121.02 LME Tin 14380.00 155.00 +1.09 10700.00 34.39 LME/Shanghai arb^ 1266 Dollar/yuan 6.8275 \ 6.8299 ** 1st contract month for COMEX copper * 3rd contact month for SHFE aluminium, copper and zinc ^ LME 3-m copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month (Editing by Kazunori Takada)