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METALS-Supply concerns push London copper above $6,000 per tonne
February 20, 2017 / 3:31 AM / 10 months ago

METALS-Supply concerns push London copper above $6,000 per tonne

* Giant Indonesia copper mine declares force majeure

* Officials at Chile mine put conditions on meeting with union

* Coming up: euro zone consumer confidence at 1500 GMT (Adds detail; updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - London copper climbed above the key level of $6,000 per tonne on Monday, buoyed by supply worries after the world’s second-biggest copper mine in Indonesia said it could not deliver promised shipments due to export permit issues.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s Indonesian unit said on Monday it hoped to resolve a dispute with the government over its mining contract, but warned it could start arbitration against the government and seek damages.

It said late last week that it could not meet contractual obligations for copper concentrate shipments from the mine following a five-week export stoppage.

That came as a strike at the world’s top mine, Escondida in Chile, caused a second week of disruption. Escondida also declared force majeure last week.

“We expect the copper market to move into deficit in 2017 for the first time in six years, due to a combination of tightening supply and recovering developed world demand countering a more moderate rate of Chinese copper demand growth,” Citi said in a report.

“We believe market tightness, and associated positive investor flows, will prompt copper prices to sustain a push above $6,000/T (in the second-half of 2017), with peaks of close to $7,000/T expected before year-end.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had risen 0.9 percent to $6013.50 a tonne by 0700 GMT, paring losses from the previous session.

Prices hit $6,204 a week ago after Escondida declared force majeure, but industry sources said that smelters and fabricators were still amply supplied with metal.

Escondida said on Sunday that company representatives would attend government-sponsored talks with striking workers on Monday as long as the union did not interfere with a shift change for non-unionized employees.

Turnover was light with U.S. markets closed for a public holiday.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper was up 0.4 percent at 48,770 yuan ($7,096) a tonne.

Adding to supply concerns, Anglo American PLC said it would temporarily suspend operations at its El Soldado copper mine in Chile after failing to receive regulatory approval for a redesign that would have helped keep output flowing.

Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would review a minister’s order to close more than half the country’s mines for environmental violations, following an outcry from affected producers.

Elsewhere, President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring massive investments in U.S. infrastructure projects showed new signs of life on Friday, as leading Republican lawmakers said proposals from the administration could be in the offing.

PRICES

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 = 6.8671 Chinese yuan renminbi) ($1 = 6.8729 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Joseph Radford)

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