LONDON: Copper fell on Friday but was still on track for its biggest weekly rise in two months after solid US and Chinese economic data pushed global stock markets to record highs and several investment banks predicted higher prices for the metal.
However the numbers from China, the biggest consumer of metals, were a mixed bag, with factory activity growing strongly but below forecasts and expected to slow.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1% at $9,190.50 a tonne at 1712 GMT but still up around 3% this week and near February’s peak of $9,617, the highest since 2011.
“The Chinese data are only really good at first glance ... momentum has cooled to some extent,” Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said.
The economy grew by a record 18.3% year-on-year in the first quarter, but the expansion is expected to moderate later this year. Industrial output slowed in March to 14.1%.
Goldman Sachs this week raised its 12-month target for copper to $11,000 a tonne, while Citi recommended clients take on bullish copper exposure over the next few weeks.
LME aluminium was down 0.9% at $2,318.50 a tonne after data showed China’s March aluminium output rose to a monthly record.
Aluminium hit a three-year high of $2,359 on Thursday, in part due to expectations that a Chinese anti-pollution drive would curtail aluminium production capacity.
LME zinc was down 0.3% at $2,855.50 a tonne, nickel fell 0.1% to $16,345, lead gained 0.9% to $2,035, and tin was 0.9% higher at $26,585.