By Peter Hobson
LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - Copper prices were heading for a fifth consecutive weekly gain on Friday as inventories declined and stock markets rose while demand improved in top consumer China.
Investors are increasingly optimistic about an economic rebound, with the mood bolstered after China said it had brought a new coronavirus outbreak under control.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.5% at $5,835 at 1602 GMT for a gain of nearly 1% this week.
The metal, used in power and construction and often seen as a bellwether for the global economy, has risen 34% from March lows and is nearing January’s pre-coronavirus high of $6,343.
Prices have also been supported by massive central bank stimulus and plans for metals-intensive infrastructure spending, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
“From a short-term perspective it looks difficult to point your finger at something that could upset the party,” he said.
STOCKS: On-warrant copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses fell by 10,025 tonnes to 127,875 tonnes, down from about 250,000 tonnes in mid-May. MCUSTX-TOTAL
Total inventories in Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) warehouses shrank by 18,162 tonnes to 109,969 tonnes in the week to Friday, taking stocks to their lowest since January 2019. CU-STX-SGH
PREMIUMS: Chinese Yangshan copper import premiums climbed to $95 a tonne from $84 at the start of the week, pointing to a pick-up in demand. SMM-CUYP-CN
DEMAND: China’s copper consumption is expected to be 2% higher in the second quarter than in the same period in 2019, said VTB Capital analyst Dmitry Glushakov.
TRADE WAR: U.S. President Donald Trump threatened again to cut ties with China, though a U.S. diplomat said China had committed during talks this week to follow through on the previously agreed Phase 1 trade deal.
COLUMN: Friend or foe? Canadian imports split U.S. aluminium sector.
OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was down 1.1% at $1,589 a tonne, zinc rose 1.2% to $2,075.50, nickel fell 1% to $12,770, lead dropped 1.6% to $1,781 and tin was up 0.2% at $16,920.
Zinc and lead were higher over the week, while aluminium and nickel were roughly flat and tin was lower.
($1 = 0.8888 euros)
Reporting by Peter Hobson Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, David Goodman and Louise Heavens