July 15, 2020 / 5:19 AM / 24 days ago

METALS-Copper eases on U.S.-China tensions, virus-led supply risks

(Recasts, updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, July 15 (Reuters) - Copper prices eased on Wednesday as heightened U.S.-China tensions and a spike in COVID-19 cases globally fuelled doubts about a swift economic recovery.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered an end to Hong Kong’s special status, souring tensions with China even further and raising the risk of economic retaliation between the world’s two biggest economies.

Broader sentiment was further dented following reports of a surge in COVID-19 cases in some countries.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 0.4% at 52,210 yuan ($7,459.53) a tonne, while three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange declined 0.3% to $6,482 a tonne by 0715 GMT.

“Prices this week are more reasonable. They need to have some rest and reassess the factors,” said a metals analyst based in China, referring to a recent rally that sent copper prices to their highest in more than two years, supported by solid Chinese demand, supply worries and bullish sentiment spilled over from the equities market.

However, LME copper leaped 48% and ShFE copper jumped 49% since March when prices hit 2020-bottom, recovering all losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged U.S.-China trade war combined.


* OTHER PRICES: LME zinc rose 0.4% to $2,203 a tonne, while aluminium dipped 0.2% to $1,685.50 a tonne. In Shanghai, aluminium fell 0.7% to 14,475 yuan a tonne and zinc dropped 1.2% to 17,880 yuan a tonne.

* CHINA: Yunnan province will help key companies stockpile up to 110,000 tonnes of copper, 340,000 tonnes of aluminium ingots for re-melting, 70,000 tonnes of lead ingots, 240,000 tonnes of zinc ingots and 40,000 tonnes of tin ingots.

* COPPER: Chinese domestic copper ingots prices climbed to their highest since October 2018 at 50,580 yuan a tonne, according to SMM data.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

$1 = 6.9991 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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