LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Tuesday as strong trade data from China, the largest consumer, was offset by a stronger dollar and news that Johnson & Johnson had paused clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine.
Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.7% at $6,689 a tonne at 1605 GMT, but remained close to September’s 27-month high of $6,877.50.
Used in power and construction, copper has gained more than 50% since March as China reopened its industry.
U.S. stimulus, a weaker dollar or faster growth outside China could lift prices further, but a resurgence in coronavirus cases could lower them, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
“Probably we have reached as far as we can,” he said.
CHINA TRADE: Chinese exports rose 9.9% in September from a year earlier, in line with analysts’ expectations and up from a 9.5% increase in August. Imports jumped 13.2% compared to a 2.1% drop in August.
IMPORTS: China’s copper imports rose in September to their second highest level on record. Imports in the first nine months of 2020 were up 41% from a year earlier at 4.99 million tonnes.
“China’s plan to build strategic reserves is likely to keep imports resilient,” analysts at ANZ wrote in a note.
VACCINE: Johnson & Johnson paused clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine candidate due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.
DOLLAR/YUAN: The dollar rose, making metals pricier for non-U.S. buyers. China’s yuan has weakened from an 18-month high hit on Friday, but international banks say it is likely to strengthen again.
JAPAN: Japan’s manufacturers are recovering at a glacial pace.
DRC: Democratic Republic of Congo has issued a six-month waiver to an export ban on copper concentrate, the mining minister said.
CHINA PRODUCTION: China’s output of zinc rose in September, while nickel, lead and tin production fell, research house Antaike said.
DUTIES: The European Union will impose duties of up to 48% on imports of aluminium extrusions from China.
OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was down 0.1% at $1,853.50 a tonne, zinc fell 0.9% to $2,417, nickel slipped 0.9% to $15,030, lead lost 2.4% to $1,800.50 and tin was 0.1% lower at $18,230.
Reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Ed Osmond, Susan Fenton and Jan Harvey
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