METALS-Copper rises on China demand hopes; Shanghai nickel hits 1-mth low
Recasts, adds Fitch forecast and details
BEIJING, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Friday as demand outlook improved on expectations that top metals consumer China will roll out more measures to support its ailing property sector.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) CMCU3 was up 1.2% at $8,472.50 a tonne by 0508 GMT, while the most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 rose 1.9% to 65,320 yuan a tonne.
Economists and analysts believe policymakers in China will take more steps to stimulate home demand this year, as part of Beijing's overall goal to bolster its $17 trillion economy after a sharp COVID-induced downturn.
Fitch Solutions revised up its copper price forecast to $8,500 a tonne in 2023 from $8,400, as demand edges higher alongside a comparatively weaker supply outlook.
"A rebound in copper demand from Chinese consumers has provided support to copper prices, attracted by lower prices and the urgent to fulfill inventory ," Fitch said, adding that it expects operational issues to persist in Latin America with minimal increases to output in 2023.
Chile, the world's top copper producer, saw production fall 6.9% in November to 449,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, SHFE SNIcv1 extended its losses, down 6.4% to 209,490 yuan, the lowest since Dec. 7.
Rising supply expectations after China's Tsingshan Group, the world's largest producer, started its project, led to a drop in prices, traders said.
Tsingshan's electronickel project, with a planned capacity of 1,500 tonnes per month, has started production and is expected to add some supply to the market this month, Shanghai Metals Market reported on Wednesday.
Global investors also await U.S. jobs reports due at 1330 GMT, with the dollar index at a four-week high after data on Thursday pointed to a strong jobs market, supporting the prospect that the Federal Reserve could keep up the pace of aggressive rate hikes.
PRICES: LME aluminium CMAL3 gained 1.3% to $2,285 a tonne, lead CMPB3 added 0.8% to $2,234.50, tin CMSN3 was up 1.8% at $25,300.
SHFE aluminium SAFcv1 climbed 0.7% to 17,920 yuan a tonne, zinc SZNcv1 was up 0.7% at 23,270 yuan, tin SSNcv1 lost 0.6% at 206,100 yuan.
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(Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; editing by Uttaresh.V and Vinay Dwivedi)
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