Copper Turns Higher as Strike Risk Offsets Weak China Data

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LONDON, May 17 Reuters Copper rose back towards last weeks record high on Monday as the threat of strikes at mines in Chile and belief among investors that prices will rally further offset weak factory data from top metals consumer China.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange LME was up 0.4 at 10,283.50 a tonne in official trading, close to last Mondays alltime peak of 10,747.50.

Copper, used in power and construction, is up more than 30 this year and many analysts expect more gains as the world shifts from fossil fuels to copperintensive electrification and demand outpaces supply.

However, Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said prolonged deficits were unlikely since higher demand from green technology would be partly offset by Chinas demographic decline and transition from investmentdriven to consumerdriven growth.

In the medium to longer term we should see copper prices begin to fall, he said.

CHINA DATA Chinas factories slowed output growth in April and retail sales significantly missed expectations.

CHINA STEEL Chinese steel prices fell sharply, with buyers put off by higher prices and the government warning it will move against too rapid a rally.

CHINA OUTPUT Chinas aluminium production in April rose to a record monthly volume while output of nonferrous metals more broadly rose 11.6 yearonyear.

CHILE A union representing workers at BHPs Escondida and Spence mines in Chile rejected the companys contract offer, raising the risk of a strike.

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