Zinc Advances to Highest Since March as LME Stockpiles Decline

Dec 20, 2013 1:40 pm ET

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Zinc climbed to the highest since March as inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange fell to the lowest in more than 20 months, signaling tightening supplies for the metal used to rust-proof steel.

Stockpiles dropped for a 37th session to the lowest since March 2012. MMG Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of China’s biggest state-owned metals trader, said in a statement yesterday that it won’t meet a target to begin shipping concentrate from its Dugald River project in late 2015. Production at the company’s Century zinc and lead open-pit mine will stop in mid-2015. Consumption will top output by 61,000 metric tons in 2013, RBC Capital Markets said in a report dated yesterday.

“Inventories have been falling in zinc recently,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, said by telephone. “A mine facility in Australia is having problems coming online. It was supposed to partially replace the output from Century, so there’s some concern about that.”

Zinc for delivery in three months advanced 2.5 percent to settle at $2,040 a metric ton on the LME at 5:50 p.m. in London, after touching $2,045, the highest since March 1.

Copper for delivery in three months gained 0.5 percent to $7,238 a ton ($3.28 a pound) on the LME. On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery added 0.4 percent to $3.308 a pound.

Nickel climbed as much as 1.8 percent to the highest since Nov. 4 in London. Aluminum, lead and tin also rose.

--Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan