LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Monday,
heading back towards the seven-month highs seen last week on
improving prospects for demand in top consumer China, low
inventories and a weaker dollar.
However, traders said activity was subdued due to the
Chinese Lunar new year holiday.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was up
0.3% at $9,349 a tonne at 1706 GMT. Prices of the metal used in
the power and construction industries rose to $9,550.50 last
week, the highest since June 6.
"Copper is up over 12% this year on positive sentiment
surrounding China's re-opening narrative, physical stockpile
shortages and a weaker dollar," said Giles Coghlan, an analyst
at broker HYCM.
"None of these look like changing much in the near term, but
it's a big week for U.S. earnings. If markets start to price in
a greater chance of a U.S. recession, that could weigh on
sentiment which could in turn impact copper's near term prices."
Companies accounting for more than half the S&P 500's market
value are reporting over the next two weeks. Microsoft
results are due on Tuesday, followed by Elon Musk's Tesla
on Wednesday, while Apple and Google parent
Alphabet report next week.
Also on the agenda this week is a spate of U.S. data on
growth, manufacturing and price pressures, which may yield clues
to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy intentions.
Worries about supplies from Peru due to social unrest are
also helping to support copper prices.
Demand for industrial metals overall is expected to pick up
soon after the Chinese holiday as companies restock ahead of a
pick-up in manufacturing activity.
A lower U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals cheaper for
holders of other currencies, which could subdue demand.
Traders are watching copper inventories in LME-registered
warehouses <MCUSTX-TOTAL>, which at 78,300 tonnes are heading
towards 10-month lows hit last November.
Cancelled warrants - metal earmarked for delivery - at 37%
of the total suggest more copper is due to leave LME warrant.
In other metals, aluminium climbed 1% to $2,637,
zinc gained 0.2% to $3,427, lead slipped 1.7% to
$2,053, tin was down 0.1% to $29,505 and nickel
fell 2.2% to $28,140.
(Reporting by Pratima Desai; additional reporting by Neha
Arora; Editing by Jan Harvey and Chizu Nomiyama)