* ShFE nickel slumps 5 pct on hopes Philippines mine cuts to
* Coming Up: ECB press briefing, interest rate announcement
* Coming Up: U.S. Import/Export prices for Feb at 1330 GMT
(Adds detail, updates prices)
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, March 9 London copper fell on
Thursday after solid U.S. jobs data increased the likelihood of
an interest rate hike this month and on signs that a disruption
at the world's biggest copper mine may soon ease.
U.S. private sector job growth recorded its biggest increase
in more than a year in February amid a surge in construction and
factory hiring, suggesting the economy remains on solid ground
despite an apparent further slowdown in the first quarter.
That pushed up the dollar close to its strongest level this
year, eroding the purchasing power of those paying for
commodities in other currencies.
"A Fed rate hike after the strong U.S. job report may
strengthen the dollar, hitting copper, which is denominated in
dollars," Argonaut Securities said in a report.
"(But) underlying fundamentals continue to reflect
increasing demand and supply shortages. Therefore, we think any
pullback in copper prices will be short-term and providing a
London Metal Exchange copper fell 1.1 percent to
$5,701 a tonne by 0708 GMT, after ending a tad lower in the
previous session. The metal earlier touched $5,688, its lowest
since Jan. 19.
Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) copper futures
fell 1.7 percent to 46,400 yuan ($6,710) a tonne.
Supporting copper prices, spot processing fees in Asia for
copper concentrate have slid to their cheapest in four years as
shutdowns at the world's top two mines in Chile and Indonesia
grind on longer than anticipated.
However, an end to the disruption at the world's biggest
copper mine may be on the horizon, after BHP Billiton,
said it may try to restart production at Escondida in
Chile using temporary workers once the strike surpasses 30 days.
LME nickel eased 0.8 percent, while ShFE nickel
tumbled 5.5 percent on the possibility that the Philippines'
hardline environmental minister may not be confirmed by
Congress, opening the door to a new minister who may be more
permissive of the mining sector.
But Regina Lopez said on Thursday that President Rodrigo
Duterte would reappoint her if a decision is delayed, giving her
more time to press her case on mine closures.
LME zinc succumbed to technical selling after it
broke its 100-day moving average, sliding 2.2 percent to $2,651
and dragging LME lead down 1.8 percent.
On the demand side, a trade deficit in China for February
has reinforced the growing view that economic activity in China
picked up in the first two months of the year, adding to a
global manufacturing revival.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
($1 = 6.9147 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Vyas Mohan and