Copper rises, low inventories boost nickel

File image of a train carrying copper cathodes leaves the Chuquicamata mine and smelter for a port in northern Chile. April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File

LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Copper prices rose on Tuesday after data showed robust manufacturing activity in Europe and Japan, while the dollar weakened and made metals cheaper for buyers outside the United States. United.

* Nickel also appreciated as lower inventories at exchange-listed warehouses pushed the metal’s premiums for immediate delivery to their highest level since 2009.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.6% at $9,655.50 a tonne by 1147 GMT, close to a record high of $10,747.50 hit in May.

* Nickel on the LME added 1.6% to $22,695 a tonne, after hitting $24,435, its highest level since January 20, 2011.

* Signs of weaker copper demand from China, where import premiums have fallen, suggest copper prices could fall, said Colin Hamilton, an analyst at BMO.

* Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) inventories typically rise rapidly around Chinese New Year, and with ShFE stocks near their lowest level since 2009, the market will pay close attention to their pace of growth, he said. Hamilton.

* Activity was light as Chinese markets are closed this week for Chinese New Year celebrations.

* Factory activity expanded in January in the euro zone, Britain, Japan and Russia, PMI surveys showed. However, data on Sunday showed Chinese factory activity slowed.

* The dollar weakened from a 19-month high hit last week against a basket of peer currencies, after four US Federal Reserve officials expressed caution about how many interest rate hikes will follow the expected first. in March.

* For updated prices of industrial metals:







(Reporting by Peter Hobson; additional reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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