China said it would spend US$3 billion to stockpile 1 million metric tons of base metals in an effort to support domestic metal producers, though doubts were raised about the amount that would actually be bought, the Financial Times reported. The metals include aluminum, tin, copper, lead and zinc. The announcement was seen as a signal that the government will insulate Chinese miners and smelters from falling demand and metal prices to maintain output and employment, rather than encourage cutbacks. The move sparked a brief rally in metal markets in London and Shanghai, which quickly dampened as traders grew skeptical of the amounts announced. For example, the Yunnan provincial government said in a statement on its website that it would buy 100,000 tons of tin, equivalent to China’s annual output and more than a quarter of the world’s yearly production of the metal.
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