Copper rose to its highest level in more than two weeks on Friday as investors hoped that Chinese-US trade talks would result in a partial deal.
Zinc climbed to its strongest in more than two months on worries about shortages after a shutdown of a production facility in Namibia.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday “good things” were happening in the first trade talks in more than two months, while a Chinese state newspaper said a “partial” trade deal would benefit China and the United States.
“Until we get a definitive outcome, metals prices will drift, but I would expect to see quite a positive response (to any good news). A lot of bad news is priced into the market,” said Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics in London.
“It’s very much half-empty sentiment currently.”
The 15-month trade dispute between the United States and China has slowed global growth and dimmed the demand outlook for base metals.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added 0.2 per cent to $US5,795 a tonne in final open-outcry trading after touching its highest since September 24 at $US5,814.
It had risen 1.7 per cent in the previous session, its strongest advance in nearly four weeks.
LME zinc failed to trade in closing rings but was bid up 1.3 per cent at $US2,418 a tonne, the highest since August 1.
It surged more than 4.0 per cent in the previous session after news of a production shutdown.
Vedanta Resources said on Thursday it would shut its Skorpion zinc operations in Namibia from early November until the end of February 2020 because of technical problems.
LME zinc stocks last stood at 62,475 tonnes, having dropped by more than half since the start of 2019.
Stocks touched a record low of 50,425 tonnes in April.
LME on-warrant aluminium inventories, those not earmarked for delivery, rose to 797,650 tonnes – the highest since May 15.
LME aluminium slid 1.8 per cent to close at $US1,722 a tonne.
“We see little upside for aluminium. Even though production is quite weak, there’s still more than enough aluminium around to meet demand,” Bain said.
Capital Economics expects aluminium to end the year at $US1,650.
LME nickel shed 0.4 per cent to finish at $US17,560 a tonne, lead climbed 1.1 per cent to $US2,182 and tin added 0.5 per cent to $US16,525.