NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Base metals had a mixed trading session Monday. Copper closed up 0.9%, aluminum closed flat, nickel lost 0.7%, zinc gained 1.5%, and lead rose 0.7%.Copper Copper for delivery within three months gained 0.5% to $6,504 per metric ton in the early hours of trading Tuesday on the London Metal Exchange owing to declining inventory levels coupled with gains across equity markets. Stockpiles maintained by the LME stood at 444,500 tons as of Monday, the lowest since Dec. 2, 2009. According to Diego Hernandez, CEO of Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, there will be limited supply of copper going forward due to declining ore grades. Worries also emanate from the largest consumer, China, where growth is expected to slowdown to 9.25% next year from 10.1% in 2010, according to a Bloomberg survey. Copper is expected to trade lower Tuesday as minimal data releases are expected during the day. Aluminum Aluminum for delivery within three months was up 0.4% to $1,944.25 per metric ton in early hours of trading on the LME. Aluminum inventories on the LME shed 6,100 tons to close at 4.41 million tons. According to Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer, the aluminum market may have a surplus of 500,000-700,000 tonnes this year, while the company expects a balanced market by the middle of next year. Moreover, the company forecasts aluminum prices between $2,400 and $2,700 per ton next year. Aluminum is expected to trade sideways to negative Tuesday. Nickel Nickel for delivery within three months increased 0.7% to $18,801 per metric ton in the early hours of trading on the LME. The metal has lost 9% during the last six trading sessions. However, inventories maintained by the LME have also declined 2.4% during this period. On Monday, Vale ( VALE), the world's fourth largest nickel producer, reached a tentative five-year deal with steelworkers who have been striking at its Sudbury nickel mine since July 13 last year. Nickel may move in line with the other base metals. Zinc Zinc for delivery within three months advanced 1.1% to $1,826 per metric ton in the early hours of trading on the LME Monday. Having declined 30% so far this year, the metal is the worst performer across the metals pack. Zinc inventories maintained by LME have climbed 26% to 616,600 tons year to date.
The outlook on the metal doesn't seem too encouraging for the remainder of the year. Lead Lead for delivery within three months was up 0.6% to $1,775 per metric ton. The metal has gained 14% during the last one month, rebounding from the 52-week low of $1,554 recorded on June 7. This increase can be attributed to declining inventories, which have fallen 1.6% during this period.