* Zinc, lead surge on lower dollar
* Signs of inflation coming boost interest
* Industrial activity in China a positive
By James Regan
SYDNEY, Nov 28 London Metal Exchange zinc surged
to its highest in nine years on Monday and lead hit a five-year
peak as a searing rally in metals gained steam on a softer
dollar and inflation expectations.
Investors have ploughed into metals on signs of a global
recovery, improving the demand outlook for metals, as well as
expectations of higher interest rates. Hard assets are an
attractive hedge against inflation because they tend to hold
their value as rates rise, cooling gains in other asset classes.
Traders said zinc, which is used in steel production, was
given a boost by news of a Chinese clampdown on illegal
expansions by steel mills and further environmental probes.
"Sentiment in the Chinese steel market picked up after the
Chinese government pledged to clamp down on illegally expanded
capacity. This helped push steel prices higher," ANZ said in a
Profit growth in China's industrial sector was also fuelling
positive sentiment towards metals, according to traders.
Industrial profits picked up in October, aided by stronger
sales and higher prices, suggesting further strengthening of the
world's second-largest economy.
LME zinc surged more than 5 percent to $2,970 a
tonne, which was its highest since October 2007. By 0700 GMT,
zinc had retraced to $2,960 a tonne.
Imports of refined zinc into China in October jumped over 50
percent from the previous month as demand for galvanised steel
improved, ANZ noted.
LME lead galloped more than 6 percent, matching
Friday's gains and hitting its highest level in more than five
"The mood for all the metals today is positive. All of a
sudden, there's this perception that maybe some people are too
short on lead, just like zinc," said a Perth-based trader.
LME copper rose over 2 percent to $6,025 a tonne,
after closing little changed in the previous session.
December's holiday slowdown period could soon put a cap on
copper, which is heading for its biggest monthly gain in more
than a decade in November, said Bonnie Liu, general manager of
"It will be hard to see another major push in the near
future," she said.
In Shanghai, zinc and lead surged as much
as 7 percent while ShFE copper erased some of its
earlier gains to trade over 2 percent higher at 49,380 yuan
($7,154)a tonne in volatile trade.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
($1 = 6.9026 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by James Regan; Additional reporting by Melanie
Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin and Subhranshu Sahu)