[Ferro-Alloys.com] Zinc hovered near its highest levels in 15 months on Wednesday as investors eyed falling stocks and a pending mine supply shortfall next year, while copper steadied after recent falls following China's port probe into warehouse fraud.
Daily data out earlier from the London Metal Exchange showed zinc stocks fell 1,100 tonnes to 694,650 tonnes - their lowest level in 4-1/2 years, and a portent of further tightness next year when one of the world's largest zinc mines will shut.
Output from MMG Ltd's Century zinc mine in Australia is expected to run dry in mid-2015, while its nearby Dugald River mine is expected to miss its start date of late 2015 due to poor ground conditions.
But William Adams, head of research at Fast Markets, cast doubt on the sustainability of zinc's current rally: "I'd say the markets anticipated a large part of this (supply) issue in December and January."
LME benchmark three-month zinc hit $2,146 a tonne, its highest since February last year, but pared gains. Untraded at the close, it was bid at $2,125 a tonne, down 0.3 percent.
LME copper steadied at $6,990 a tonne, up 0.2 percent, after touching $6,628 on Tuesday, its lowest since May 7 on worries that copper financing in China will be harder to come by as the port probe runs its course.