Copper swung between gains and losses as investors weighed post-holiday demand from China, the top consumer, against a stalemate over the debt ceiling and government shutdown in the U.S.
The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,250 a metric ton by 11:48 a.m. in Tokyo after rising 0.2 percent and falling 0.4 percent. Futures for delivery in December were little changed at $3.2995 a pound on the Comex in New York.
President Barack Obama reiterated that he won’t negotiate with Republicans over the partial government closure and the U.S. debt limit. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew warned that Congress needs to increase the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling by Oct. 17 or risk defaulting on its payments. The U.S. is the second-biggest copper user.
“Investors remained on the sidelines to avoid risk until the U.S. budget and debt limit issues are resolved,” said Tetsu Emori, the chief fund manager at Astmax Asset Management Inc.
Expectations of post-holiday demand in China and declining LME stockpiles provided support for the market, Emori said. China resumed trading today after a week-long holiday. Stockpiles tracked by the LME dropped for a 23rd day to 523,425 tons, the least since March, exchange data showed yesterday.
Metal for delivery in December on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.8 percent to 52,360 yuan ($8,557) a ton.
On the LME, aluminum, zinc and nickel were little changed, while tin and lead rose.
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