April 2, 2019 / 12:14 PM / 3 months ago

METALS-Copper slips as Peru mine blockade seen ending

* U.S. dollar hovers around 3-week high

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Adds closing prices, Norsk Hydro)

By Zandi Shabalala

LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped on Tuesday, under pressure from a stronger dollar and signs that a blockade of a mine in Peru may end after government intervention, which eased supply concerns.

The Peruvian government offered a deal to indigenous protesters to lift their blockade of Chinese miner MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas copper mine in the Andean region. A decision is pending agreement from the community

The protesters have blocked roads to the mine, which produces about 2 percent of global copper output, since early February, demanding compensation from MMG for using a stretch of road on their farmland.

“The stoppage could be impacting sentiment a little bit but we are all factoring in that the mine will be back up and running,” said BMO Capital Markets analyst Colin Hamilton.

“The concentrate side is still tightening up with Las Bambas out, but there is enough refined inventory to cover needs,” he said.

Benchmark copper ended 0.7 percent lower at $6,426.50 per tonne, its second straight session of decline as it retreats from a one-week high touched on Monday.

DOLLAR: Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar rose against a basket of major currencies following relatively upbeat data from the United States.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for non-U.S. firms, which is a relationship used by funds to generate buy and sell signals.

INVENTORIES: On-warrant stocks in LME-approved warehouses available to the market inched down 1,100 tonnes to 143,375 tonnes, but are still up nearly seven-fold from 21,600 tonnes in February. MCUSTX-TOTAL

STEEL: Steel consumption in the Philippines is likely to rise by 5-6 percent this year to a record 11.1 million tonnes as the country’s economy continues to grow, the head of an industry group told Reuters on Monday.

ZINC: Korea Zinc Inc and Teck Resources Ltd have agreed annual concentrate treatment charges of about $245 a tonne, 67 percent higher than last year, as mine supply ramps up, two industry sources said.

GANFENG LITHIUM: China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co will spend $160 million to boost its stake in an Argentinian lithium project with Lithium Americas Corp, it said on Monday, part of a plan to solidify access to the metal used in electric vehicle batteries.

ALUMINA: Norsk Hydro said it could take months to return its Karmoey aluminium plant in western Norway to full capacity after a power outage that cut output by about 10 percent.

OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium fell 0.6 percent to $1,889, zinc slid 2.6 percent to $2,856 in a retreat from nine-month highs, lead fell 1.8 percent to $1,985, tin slipped 1.3 percent to $21,195 and nickel shed 0.3 percent to $13,090 per tonne.

Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jan Harvey

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