August 7, 2019 / 11:50 AM / 18 days ago

METALS-Copper edges off two-year low as Washington soothes trade fears

    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Adds closing prices, trade war update)
    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Copper inched higher on Wednesday
after U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed fears of a
protracted trade war with China, though a lack of progress on
resolving the conflict kept prices near their lowest since 2017.
    Benchmark copper         on the London Metal Exchange (LME)
ended 0.4% higher at $5,703 per tonne, still close to Monday's
two-year low of $5,640. 
    "There has been nothing concrete and nothing has markedly
changed (in the trade war)," said Natixis analyst Bernard
Dahdah.
    "I would say the propensity of prices is to be lower until
the end of this year. I don't think there is going to be a
solution any time soon," Dahdah added.
    Markets fear an escalation in the trade war could negatively
affect metals demand. China, the world's second largest economy,
consumes nearly half of all industrial metals.
       
    TRADE WAR: Trump on Wednesday said his tough stance on
China's behavior in global markets would ultimately benefit the
American economy, even as Beijing signaled it could strike back
by curbing sales of critical chemicals known as rare earths.
            
    China's rare earths association said it would support
counter-measures in the escalating trade row with the United
States, which it accused of "bullying".             
    EU ECONOMY: German industrial output fell more than expected
in June due to weaker production of intermediate and capital
goods, a further sign that Europe's biggest economy contracted
in the second quarter as exporters were hurt by trade disputes.
            
    GLENCORE: The global miner          said it would place its
Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in Democratic Republic of Congo
under care and maintenance from the end of this year due to low
prices and higher costs.             
    In 2018, Mutanda produced nearly 200,000 tonnes of copper
and 27,300 tonnes of cobalt.
    "As Mutanda accounts for less than 1% of global copper mine
production, the impact on a market which is sufficiently
supplied should be limited," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke
said.
    COPPER INVENTORIES: Copper stocks in LME-approved warehouses
have more than doubled this year to 277,975 tonnes and those in
warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have risen
40% to 155,971 tonnes. MCUSTX-TOTAL
    PRICES: Aluminium         ended 0.8% lower at $1,745 a
tonne, hitting a two-month low, while zinc         was down 2.1%
at $2,261 after falling to its lowest since October 2016.
    Lead         gained 0.2% to $2,002, tin         fell 1.4% to
$16,755 having touched its lowest since June 2016, and nickel
        fell 0.9% to $14,810.

    
 (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore and Tom Daly
in Beijing
Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes)
  
 
 
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