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By Zandi Shabalala
LONDON, March 24 Copper fell on Friday, ending
the week 2 percent lower after workers agreed to end a strike at
the world's top copper mine in Chile.
The price of copper in London dipped briefly on
Thursday on news that the strike at BHP Billiton's
Escondida mine had ended. It stabilised but resumed its
decline later in the Friday session.
The strike had lasted 43 days.
"It had led to rising prices ahead of the strike and now I
would expect the price to give away some of its gains," said
Carsten Menke, a commodity analyst at Julius Baer.
Investors this week were also jittery about the possibility
President Donald Trump's healthcare bill might not pass,
suggesting he may struggle to muster the backing needed to push
through fiscal measures central to the U.S. government's
"The market is beginning to price out the probability that
we could get this big infrastructure spend from Trump," said
Jens Pedersen, commodities analyst at Danske Bank.
"If he had such a difficult time getting this through, how
will it go when things turn to the budget, infrastructure
spending and tax."
Commodity markets have soared since November on expectations
Trump will increase spending on infrastructure.
* COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper slipped 0.4
percent to $5,804 a tonne, ending the week 2 percent lower.
* STOCKS: Copper stocks in LME approved warehouses have shot
up 63 percent since March 2 to 312,525 tonnes while on warrant
inventories have doubled.
* TECHNICALS: Copper faces resistance at its 200-day moving
average on the weekly chart at $5,959 a tonne.
* ESCONDIDA: The strike at Chile's Escondida, the world's
largest copper mine, is ending after workers decided to invoke a
rarely used legal provision that allows them to extend their old
* PHILIPPINES NICKEL: The Philippines' environment agency
has allowed eight suspended nickel ore miners to ship out
stockpiles of mined ore, sources told Reuters, temporarily
boosting supply from the world's top exporter of the raw metal
after a major mining crackdown.
* CHINA IMPORTS: China's refined metals imports were sharply
lower in February, by 29 pct on the year for copper to 66 pct
down for zinc, also spooking the market over the strength of
* ZINC STRIKE: Noranda Income Fund said on
Thursday zinc output at its Quebec plant, the second-largest in
North America, was at 50-60 percent of normal operating levels
as a five-and-a-half week long strike dragged on.
* FREEPORT: Freeport-McMoRan Inc said Thursday that
a nearly two-week strike has not materially impacted production
levels at its Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru, the country's
biggest, although the union said output has been cut in half.
* PRICES: Aluminium gained 0.3 percent to $1,939 a
tonne; zinc rose 0.6 percent to $2,831; lead
ceded 0.6 percent to $2,352; nickel fell 1.6 percent to
$9,870; tin lost 2.1 percent to $19,850.
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
(Reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Mark