NEW DELHI (Commodity Online): Copper and other base metal prices rose up to 5 per kg in the non-ferrous metal market on Thursday on continued buying by stockists on industrial demand amid firming trend at the London Metal Exchange.

Marketmen said increased buying by stockists like China driven by pick up in industrial demand and firming trend in global markets mainly pushed up base metal prices.

Meanwhile, copper for three-month delivery rose 1.8 per cent to USD 7,230, lead by 2.8 per cent to USD 2,015 and nickel by 1.8 per cent to USD 20,460 a metric tonne on the London Metal Exchange.

In New Delhi, copper wire scrap, copper wire bar and copper mixed scrap remained in demand and added another 2 each to Rs 379, Rs 398 and Rs 359, while nickel (4x4) gained Rs 5 to Rs 903-907 per kg, respectively. Lead ingot and lead imported were also higher by Rs 5 each to Rs 122 and Rs 125 per kg, respectively.

Meanwhile, China and South Africa signed a raft of commercial deals in mining, finance, nuclear energy and other sectors during a visit by South African President Jacob Zuma, as Beijing strengthens its commercial ties with Africa's largest economy.

The list of more than 10 deals, the total value of which wasn't announced, reflects China's focus on expanding its resources and energy reach in South Africa to fuel continued growth in China's booming economy, which is on pace to surpass Japan's this year as the second largest after the US China's demand for resources has lent great support to South Africa's economy as well as boosting its currency, the rand, in recent years.

Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Beijing will encourage domestic companies to invest in South Africa's mining and resources sectors as well as higher value-added sectors. But senior South African officials also indicated some discontent with the trade relationship. They called on China not to focus exclusively on investing in raw materials and other primary goods, and to buy more value-added goods from South Africa to help promote more balanced trade.

China is South Africa's top trading partner, and South Africa's economy-more developed than many others in the region-has been a focal point of a broader Chinese push into the continent aimed at securing resources and expanding China's international clout. But South Africa has been frustrated by its sizable trade deficit with China.

South Africa bought 70.8 billion rand ($9.58 billion) of Chinese goods last year, 13% of its total imports, while exporting 48.7 billion rand worth to China, about 11% of the total. China is the top overseas market for South African base metals, and the second-biggest destination for South African copper exports, after South Korea, at nearly 24%.