March 22, 2019 / 12:04 PM / 4 months ago

METALS-Copper has worst week since December as dollar firms

(Adds closing prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Friday as weak European and U.S. factory data spread gloom about the global economic outlook and strengthened the dollar.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) closed 1.7 percent lower at $6,312 a tonne, slipping from an eight-month high of $6,555.50 on Thursday.

It logged its biggest weekly loss since December, down 1.7 percent.

European data showing factory activity contracted at the fastest pace in nearly six years and lacklustre U.S. figures were fanning fears that weaker global growth will sap demand for commodities, said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

A stronger dollar also makes metals more expensive for buyers with other currencies.

Briesemann said copper prices were supported by supply deficits and could rise if the United States and China remove a threat to their economies by settling their trade dispute, though he expects lacklustre demand to bring prices back to around $6,500 by the end of the year.

LME COPPER STOCKS: On-warrant copper inventories available to the market from LME-registered warehouses have rebounded from 14-year lows and rose by another 1,300 tonnes to 140,650 tonnes on Friday, though they remain lower than usual. MCUSTX-TOTAL

SHFE COPPER STOCKS: Stockpiles in Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) warehouses, meanwhile, fell slightly to 259,172 tonnes after a rapid build during a seasonal lull in demand. CU-STX-SGH

DEFICIT: The global copper market was in a deficit of 387,000 tonnes last year, compared with a 265,000 tonne shortfall in 2017, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said.

OUTLOOK: ICBC Standard said it expected a cumulative copper deficit of 638,000 tonnes over 2019-21, predicting prices at $7,000 by the final quarter of this year, rising towards $8,000 over the next two years.

TRADE TARIFFS: U.S. President Donald Trump said trade negotiations with China were progressing and a final agreement “will probably happen.”

FRESH TARIFFS: Indonesia and China on Friday slapped anti-dumping import duties on each other’s steel products in an escalation of a global tariff row involving one of the world’s most widely used metals.

PHILIPPINES COPPER: Copper and gold producer Philex Mining Corp said the start of output at its Silangan mine would be delayed by four years until 2022.

GLENCORE ZINC: Commodity giant Glencore said it has suspended operations at its McArthur River zinc mine in northern Australia as a cyclone approaches.

ZINC: LME zinc closed down 0.7 percent at $2,815 a tonne even as headline and on-warrant stocks in LME warehouses fell to record lows and ShFE inventories also declined. MZNSTX-TOTAL ZN-STX-SGH

OTHER METALS: Aluminium added 0.2 percent at $1,903 a tonne, while lead fell 0.4 percent to $2,032 and marked its third straight weekly decline.

Nickel slipped 0.2 percent to $12,940 and tin rose 0.2 percent to $21,420.

Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter

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