After slumping from a two-and-a-half-month high early last week, copper prices rose again Thursday as the US dollar fell against other currencies and China reported that its exports grew 14.1 percent in December. Still, investors remain cautious because China's copper imports fell amid high stockpiles of the metal.
"The fact that China's exports have improved so much is read as a sign that world demand may be better than initially thought," The Wall Street Journal quoted Standard Bank analyst Walter de Wet as saying. The gain was substantial against the 2.9-percent increase in exports reported in November, but Reuters cited analysts as cautioning that the strong increase was in part the result of comparatively low figures in 2011 and exporters clearing year-end orders. Moreover, China, which consumes about 40 percent of the world's copper, imported 6.6 percent less copper in December as plants reduced their purchases due to low cash flows. On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-month delivery rose to $8,110 per tonne, up 0.4 percent from the $8,080 closing price on Monday. COMEX copper for March delivery was up 1 percent at $3.7060 per pound in early afternoon trade in New York. Company news Anglo American (LSE:AAL) appointed Mark Cutifani, the CEO of AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), as its new CEO. The current CEO, Cynthia Carroll, will step down at an April shareholders' meeting and will leave the company at the end of that month. First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM,LSE:FQM) mailed its C$72-per-share offer for Inmet Mining (TSX:IMN) directly to Inmet's shareholders. They can choose to get their consideration all in cash, in First Quantum shares or in a combination of the two. The offer values Inmet at C$5.1 billion.