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METALS-London copper slips on dollar, supply threats underpin
February 21, 2017 / 3:49 AM / 10 months ago

METALS-London copper slips on dollar, supply threats underpin

* LME aluminium at risk of near term correction -JP Morgan

* Coming Up: Germany Markit Mnfg Flash PMI Feb at 0830 GMT (Adds comment, detail, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Feb 21 (Reuters) - London copper slipped on Tuesday as the dollar pushed ahead, but ongoing supply concerns from industrial action in Chile and an Indonesian export permit dispute underpinned prices.

The dollar climbed as the euro nursed losses, with concerns about the looming French election rattling European bonds. A stronger greenback erodes buying power for those paying for dollar-denominated commodities with other currencies.

“Yesterday’s impressive base metal rally has so far stalled into the ShFE session as light regional long liquidation weighs on prices all be it on low volumes,” said Marex Spectron in a report.

“The move higher yesterday was no doubt exacerbated by the absence of some key U.S. accounts that have recently been on the offer and ahead of the resumption of ‘normal’ trade some retracement should be expected,” it said.

U.S. markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped by 0.5 percent to $6,036.50 a tonne by 0720 GMT, paring gains after a 1.9 percent rally in the previous session. LME copper struck $6,105 a tonne on Monday, strongest since Feb. 14.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper pulled back from early gains on Tuesday to finish up 1 percent at 48,920 yuan ($7,108) a tonne.

Other metals were also buoyed by supply concerns, with Shanghai zinc leading sister metal lead up around 2 percent, following gains in London overnight after a steep fall in available zinc inventory on the LME and concerns over mine supply.

A government-mediated meeting between BHP Billiton and striking workers at its Escondida copper mine in Chile has failed, and workers will head back to their encampment without any future dialogue planned, a union spokesman said.

U.S. mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc warned on Monday it could take the Indonesian government to arbitration and seek damages over a contractual dispute that has halted operations at the world’s second-biggest copper mine.

There are also broad supply concerns in aluminium markets, and a major producer has made an indicative offer of a premium of $125 per tonne to Japanese buyers for April-June primary metal shipments, up 32 percent from the last quarter, three sources involved in pricing talks said on Monday.

Still, LME aluminium prices are at risk of a correction lower as surplus Chinese production flows into warehouses and drags on global prices, JP Morgan said in a report.

The bank said it sees “the potential for environmentally driven Chinese smelting capacity closures to skew aluminium price risk higher in the medium term ... (and) look to re-initiate length at better prices in the coming weeks.”

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 = 6.8826 Chinese yuan Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue

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