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METALS-Shanghai copper posts weekly gain as smelting activity drops

(Updates prices, adds quotes)

HANOI, April 2 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper prices rose on Friday on concern over limited supplies of refined copper after data showed a fall in global smelting activity owing to a shortage of feedstock.

The most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 2.4% up at 67,090 yuan ($10,227.91) a tonne for a 0.9% weekly gain.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is closed for a public holiday and both exchanges will be shut on Monday.

Global copper smelting slipped to its lowest levels in at least five years in March, especially in top refined copper producer China, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed.

A supply squeeze in concentrates partially outweighed signs of weaker than expected demand for refined copper in China, the world’s biggest consumer, as it enters a traditionally strong demand season in the second quarter.

The Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN fell to $57 a tonne, its lowest since Nov. 30, indicating weakening demand for imported copper in China.

“We temporarily maintain the long-term bullish judgment of copper prices, but if destocking in the second quarter is less than expected the increase in copper prices may be weaker than previously expected,” Huatai Futures said in a note.

ShFE copper inventories CU-STX-SGH climbed to their highest since May 2020 at 197,628 tonnes.

FUNDAMENTALS

* ShFE aluminium rose 1.4% to 17,515 yuan a tonne, nickel advanced 1.9% to 123,470 yuan, lead declined 1.9% to 15,015 yuan and tin jumped 3.9% to 182,510 yuan.

* Japan’s second-largest copper smelter, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co, expects its refined copper output in the 2021/22 financial year to drop by 5% to 421,000 tonnes because of maintenance at its Toyo smelter and refinery.

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$1 = 6.5595 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by Uttaresh.V and David Goodman

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