By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, July 23 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Thursday as rising tensions between the United States and China sparked concerns of further retaliation between the world’s two biggest economies.
The most-traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended down 0.9% at 51,970 yuan ($7,429.59) a tonne, while three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.1% to $6,493 a tonne by 0703 GMT, having fallen as much as 0.8% earlier in the session.
The United States’ move to shut the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas on Wednesday prompted Beijing to consider closing the U.S. consulate in the central city of Wuhan, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
“Copper is trading lower as sentiment is dampened across markets after the decision by the U.S. to close the Chinese consulate in Houston, heightening tension between the two countries,” said commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron.
“The drop in copper might represent another buying opportunity as the concentrate market continues to tighten,” Stablum said, noting low treatment charges and miners’ struggle to keep up production as they postpone capital expenditure.
* OTHER METALS: LME aluminium rose 0.2% to $1,693.50 a tonne, tin declined 0.2% to $17,540 a tonne while ShFE nickel dropped 1.2% to 106,040 yuan a tonne and ShFE lead decreased 1.4% to 14,865 yuan a tonne.
* NICKEL: Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang’s ferronickel production fell 0.6% year-on-year in April-June but sales rose 14% annually.
* LEAD: Chinese lead domestic prices SMM-LD-DOM rose to a one-week high at 15,050 yuan a tonne on Wednesday, SMM data showed.
* COPPER SPREAD: Premiums of LME cash over three-month copper CMCU0-3 rose to $17 a tonne, highest since March 2019, amid falling copper stocks MCUSTX-TOTAL and large holdings of warrants and cash contracts.
* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.9950 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Rashmi Aich and Vinay Dwivedi)