Copper steadies

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    Copper prices are steady, supported by falling inventories and output cuts, but persistent concerns about demand growth in top consumer China kept a lid on the market.

    Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed up 0.1 per cent at $US5,185 a tonne.

    Prices were supported by a drawdown in inventories, as stocks of copper in LME-approved warehouses fell to 312,225, down more than 15 per cent from a peak in late August.

    Bonded stocks in Chinese warehouses are estimated to have fallen about 350,000 tonnes over the past three months.

    "The market is starting to look at the fact that warrant (inventory) levels are falling quite rapidly and you have more production reduction announcements," said David Wilson, analyst at Citi.

    "Is this a market you really want to be shorting?"

    Lead rose 0.2 per cent to $US1,628.5 a tonne, after touching a five-year low of $US1,608 earlier in the day. Zinc slid 0.7 per cent to $US1,655; tin gained 1.0 per cent to $US15,750; nickel rose 0.1 per cent to $US9,960; while three-month aluminium closed down 0.7 per cent at $US1,554.

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