(Adds comment, updates prices)
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, Oct 2 (Reuters) - London copper futures ticked higher in slow trading on Monday, with market participants in top metals consumer China away this week for the National Day break.
Underpinning investor sentiment was data showing China’s manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest clip in more than five years, as well as Beijing’s move to slash bank reserve requirements to boost lending.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.4 percent at $6,509 a tonne by 0631 GMT. The metal ended July-September with a 9.2-percent gain, marking its fifth quarterly increase.
“So far, it has felt more like a scramble to cover shorts (short positions) established Friday than people getting long as we await the European open for a proper gauge of where these markets are at,” Matt France, head of institutional sales at Marex Spectron, said in a note.
* CHINA DATA: China’s manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace since 2012 in September as factories cranked up output to take advantage of strong demand and high prices, easing worries of a slowdown before a key political meeting next month, data released on Saturday showed.
* CHINA RESERVE CUT: China’s central bank trimmed the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves for the first time since February 2016 in a bid to encourage more lending to struggling smaller firms and energize its lacklustre private sector.
* CHINA STEEL: An official gauge of China’s steel industry declined in September but stayed in solid expansion territory, as the industry faces upcoming production restrictions aimed at reducing choking air pollution over the winter.
* DOLLAR: The U.S. dollar was firmer, underpinned by higher U.S. yields, while the euro came under pressure as investors monitored the aftermath of an independence vote in Spain’s Catalonia.
* CATALONIA: Catalonia’s regional leader opened the door to a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain on Sunday after voters defied a violent police crackdown and, according to regional officials, voted 90 percent in favour of breaking away.
* FREEPORT: The Indonesian unit of U.S. miner Freeport McMoRan Inc can continue to export copper concentrate even if negotiations over the company’s permit to operate the giant Grasberg mine are not resolved this month.
* JAPAN TANKAN: Big manufacturers have more confidence in Japan’s business conditions than they have had for a decade as a weak yen and robust global demand add momentum to the economic recovery, a closely watched central bank survey showed.
* CHINA WINTER CUTS: Chinese steelmakers and aluminium smelters are closing some production starting next month to meet strict air quality standards for the winter.
* MITSUBISHI COPPER: Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials Corp said it plans to produce 181,830 tonnes of refined copper during October-March, up 14 percent from the same period last year as it boosts its smelting capacity.
* PRICES: LME aluminium slipped 0.5 percent to $2,092 a tonne, zinc eased 0.3 percent to $3,154 and lead rose 0.3 percent to $2,492.50.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
ARBS (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Richard Pullin)