The contract for delivery in three months gained as much as 0.7 percent on the London Metal Exchange to $6,695.75 a metric ton and traded at $6,655 at 10:16 a.m. in Hong Kong. Copper fell 5.7 percent in the past two sessions, the biggest such drop since October 2011.
The 14-day relative-strength index has been below 30 since March 7, a level that suggests to some analysts using technical charts that the price may be poised to rebound. Vehicle sales in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals, rose 18 percent last month, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said yesterday.
“It’s a technical rebound as the market has been heavily oversold,” said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. The increase in China’s auto sales also provided support, he said.
Copper is down 9.6 percent this year, the worst performer among the six major base metals traded on the LME. Chinese exports slid the most since 2009 in February, data showed over the weekend, fueling concern that demand for the industrial metal is slowing.
The Chinese New Year holiday caused the decline in exports in February, former Commerce Minister Chen Deming said at the National People’s Congress in Beijing yesterday.
The contract for delivery in May on the Comex in New York was little changed at $3.0305 a pound. Copper for the same month on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.7 percent to 45,900 yuan ($7,480) a ton.
On the LME, nickel fell, while tin climbed. Aluminum, lead and zinc were little changed.