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Most base metals gain, but demand concerns linger

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BEIJING — Most base metals in London rose on Wednesday, after data showed China’s factory activity contracted less than expected this month, although the overall sentiment was tense as manufacturing outlook protracted in the world’s second-largest economy.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 1% at $7,943 a tonne, as of 0536 GMT. In the previous session, copper slid to its lowest levels in more than two weeks.

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China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 49.4 in August, from July’s 49.0 and beat expectations for 49.2 in a Reuters poll of analysts.

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It remained below the 50-point mark, however, reflecting a second consecutive contraction of factory activity amid COVID-19 flare-ups, power rationing and the challenges in its embattled property sector.

“Demand for copper rods picked up, the recently improved power supply could bolster demand as downstream projects ramped up but overall sentiment was still bearish amid a troubled property sector,” a trader said.

A survey showed China is struggling to emerge from the sluggish growth seen in the June quarter, with risks darkening the outlook as high inflation and the Ukraine war hit external demand.

China’s southwestern Sichuan province resumed its power supply to industrial and residential usage, and factories there have restarted their production after being ordered to shut down since Aug.15.

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LME aluminum was up 0.7% at $2,408 a tonne, zinc gained 0.7% to $3,504.50 a tonne, lead climbed 0.4% to 1994.50 a tonne, tin edged up 0.2% to $23,700 a tonne.

The most-traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 0.3% to 62,210 yuan ($9,026.67) a tonne.

ShFE aluminum fell 0.4% to 18,470 yuan a tonne, tin shed 1% to 192,960 yuan a tonne, zinc rose 0.5% to 25,045 yuan a tonne, while nickel climbed 4.3% to 171,960 yuan a tonne after hitting an one-month low on Tuesday.

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($1 = 6.8918 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Siyi Liu and Domonique Patton; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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