London Metal Exchange copper prices inched up in early Asian trading on Friday February 21 as shorts covered their positions and the market kept an eye on Chinese spot market demand.

At 02:20 London time, three-month copper traded at $7,162.25 per tonne, up $1.25 from its opening price.

“The market has been weak throughout the week and some shorts chose to clear their positions before the weekend,” Xu Maili, analyst at Everbright Futures in Shanghai, said.

Analysts remain cautious about the outlook.

“Copper prices would remain in consolidation for a while as the market is focusing on China’s spot demand,” Maili said.

The spot copper price on the Changjiang Nonferrous Metals Market gained 120 yuan ($20) from the previous day to 50,400-50,560 yuan per tonne on Friday.

“The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to a seven-month low in February indicating that the Chinese economy is cooling down. This triggered a sell-off and attracted some buyers,” Xu Yongqi, an analyst at Guotai Junan Futures in Shanghai, said.

Analysts said they expect the LME three-month copper to test support at $7,120 per tonne for the session.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most-traded May copper contract stood at 50,590 yuan per tonne at 10:55 Beijing time, up 140 yuan from its opening.

Other LME base metals prices were mostly up in Asian morning trading.

Three-month aluminium was at $1,774.25 per tonne, up $3.25 from its opening price.

Three-month lead was $2.5 higher at $2,145 per tonne.

Zinc added $5.75 to $2,053.25 per tonne.

Nickel was up $45 from its opening to trade at $14,410 per tonne.

Tin was untraded.