By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, May 18 (Reuters) - Copper prices climbed on Monday, following global equities higher as several economies reopened after coronavirus lockdowns, although demand from top consumer China is seen slowing this month.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 1.6% to $5,262 a tonne by 0705 GMT, while the most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) closed 0.7% higher at 43,120 yuan ($6,062.48) a tonne.
Summer weather is enticing much of the world to emerge from lockdowns as centres of the outbreak from New York to Italy and Spain gradually lift restrictions that have kept millions cooped up for months.
Copper is often seen as the gauge of global economic health.
“Downstream demand has been improving but hasn’t been back to 2019 levels. Demand in April was good because the market caught up with the Q1 delayed orders, but now it is slightly weaker,” said China copper demand analyst He Tianyu at CRU Group.
China could see demand for copper stable or increase slightly in the next few months as domestic demand improved but overseas demand has not recovered, He added.
* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium rose 0.8% to $1,470.50 a tonne and nickel advanced 1.6% to $12,040 a tonne, while zinc was up 1% to $1,981 a tonne and lead increased 1.3% to $1,621.50 a tonne.
* SHANGHAI PRICES: ShFE aluminium ended 1.6% higher at 12,760 yuan a tonne and zinc advanced 1.1% to 16,595 yuan a tonne, while nickel rose 0.1% to 99,860 yuan a tonne.
* FREEPORT: Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s Indonesian unit said it will operate the giant Grasberg mine with a “skeletal team” after a rise in coronavirus infections in the area.
* DAYE: China Daye Non-Ferrous Metal Mining Ltd’s refined copper output was 10% below target in the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak hit operations.
* ZAMBIA COPPER: Zambia reopened its Nakonde border with Tanzania on Friday for cargo after a five-day closure of the transit point for copper and cobalt exports and fuel imports.
* CHINA: The danger of a second wave of infections is looming large in China, Chinese government’s senior medical adviser Zhong Nanshan told CNN.
* BUSINESS: China and South Korea have consulted Japan about easing border controls on business travellers to help revive business activities, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.
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$1 = 7.1126 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Devika Syamnath