London: Copper jumped to the highest price since August 2008 in London after imports by China, the world's largest consumer, surged in March on rising seasonal demand.

The three-month contract on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 1.5 per cent to $8,043.75 (Dh29,584) a metric tonne, the highest level since August 1, 2008, and traded at $7,984 at 3:08pm in Shanghai. The contract rose above $8,000 last week for the first time since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings in September 2008.

Imports of copper and products by China jumped to 456,240 tonnes last month, the customs office said on April 10. That's 42 per cent more than February's 322,280 tonnes and 22 per cent more than March 2009, according to Bloomberg calculations.

"Such a big increase is likely to be interpreted by overseas investors as robust Chinese demand and a key reason to buy," said Zeng Chao, an analyst at Everbright Futures, from Shanghai yesterday. "Yet higher shipments would boost supplies within China and pressure domestic prices."

Copper for July delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed as much as 1.4 per cent to 63,790 yuan (Dh34,378) a tonne, the highest level since July, 2008. The contract closed unchanged at 62,930 yuan.

Prices gained even as copper stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai exchange expanded 10 per cent last week to the highest since at least 2003.

"As we're in the manufacturing high season, any sign of rising demand fuels buying, whereas signals of expanding supplies are ignored," Zhang Wenhai, an analyst at Luneng Jinsui Futures said from Jinan, Shandong province on Sunday.

Weak Dollar

Metals also climbed as the dollar fell against a basket of six major currencies for a second day, improving the appeal of commodities as alternative investments. The dollar declined against the euro after European governments offered Greece a rescue package worth as much as 45 billion euros (Dh223 billion).

Aluminium rose as much as one per cent to $2,431 a tonne, the highest price since October 2008. China's imports of aluminium and its products rose 48 per cent to 95,046 tonnes last month, according to customs data.

  • 42% more copper imports in March
  • $8,000 per tonne last week for three-month contract
  • 95,046 tonnes of aluminium imported last month