Copper rebounds as China’s factories unexpectedly return to growth

Copper prices rose on Tuesday, with Shanghai Futures Exchange copper touching a near two-week high, as top consumer China surprisingly reported an expansion in factory activities this month.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index for China rose to 52 in March from the collapse to a record low of 35.7 in February, official data showed, much higher than a Reuters poll’ forecast of 45.0. The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) rose as much as 2.2% to 39,600 yuan ($5,578.56) a tonne, its highest since March 18.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.5% to $4,838.50 a tonne, as of 0124 GMT, reversing a streak of three straight losses. However, the longer-term outlook for copper, often used as a gauge of the global economic health, is still seen under pressure due to prolonged worldwide shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

LME copper, despite the rally on Tuesday, was down 14.2% on a monthly basis, on track for its worst monthly decline since September 2011.

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