March 7, 2018 / 5:47 AM / 3 months ago

METALS-Metal prices slip as trade war concerns resurface

 (Recasts, adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices)
    MELBOURNE/BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) - London metals slipped on Wednesday on
the resignation of Gary Cohn, a key advocate for free trade in the White House,
rekindling fears U.S. President Donald Trump would go ahead with tariffs on
metal imports and risk a trade war.    
    Cohn, an economic adviser seen as a bulwark against protectionist forces
within Trump's administration, said on Tuesday he would resign, a move that came
after he lost a fight over Trump's plans for hefty steel and aluminium import
tariffs.     
    The threat of a trade war has led to speculative buying, Kingdom Futures CEO
Malcolm Freeman wrote in a note, on expectations that metal will be harder and
more expensive to come by when the tariffs are imposed. However, there has so
far been little increase in real consumer buying, he added. 
    "The net result of this could well be another sharp correction to the
downside in prices until the markets get into synchronisation and consumer
buying starts up again," Freeman said.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was down 0.5 percent at
$6,970 a tonne, as of 0730 GMT, shedding gains of 1.4 percent from the previous
session. Prices have traded in a $6,850-$7,250 range since mid-February. "A
softer dollar brought copper up above $7,000 last night, but I think fear is on
again," said a trader in Singapore.
    * LME OPTIONS: Traders of LME calls and puts, the right to buy or sell a
contract at a fixed price later, must decide today, the first Wednesday of the
month, whether to exercise their options.      
    * SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper closed 0.3 percent
higher at 52,480 yuan ($8,299.33) a tonne.
    * DOLLAR: The greenback extended its retreat on Wednesday after Cohn
resigned.
    * CHINA ECONOMY: China is fully confident of its ability to fend off
systemic debt risks while authorities expect no significant changes in
government debt ratio in the coming years, finance minister Xiao Jie said on
Wednesday.
    * ZINC: Brazilian miner Nexa Resources expects demand for
zinc to outpace supply, keeping prices for the metal at $3,400 to $3,500 a ton
for the rest of the year, Chief Executive Tito Martins said on Tuesday. 

     * ZINC: Premiums for zinc in Shanghai bond have sunk to the weakest since
May last year at $145-170, latest data shows, after exchange stocks in the U.S.
surged this week, soothing supply concerns. ZN-BMPBW-SHMET 
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
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    MARKETS NEWS    
    * Global stocks and the dollar slumped on Wednesday after a strong White
House advocate for free trade resigned, fanning fears that President Donald
Trump will proceed with protectionist tariffs and risk a trade war. 
  
        
    PRICES    
    
 BASE METALS PRICES                         0717 GMT
 Three month LME copper                         6973
 Most active ShFE copper                       52480
 Three month LME aluminium                      2138
 Most active ShFE aluminium                    14260
 Three month LME zinc                           3297
 Most active ShFE zinc                         25300
 Three month LME lead                           2422
 Most active ShFE lead                         18710
 Three month LME nickel                        13505
 Most active ShFE nickel                      102070
 Three month LME tin                           21380
 Most active ShFE tin                         146560
                                                    
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                              
 LME/SHFE COPPER              LMESHFCUc3     1098.33
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM           LMESHFALc3    -1448.78
                                          
 LME/SHFE ZINC                LMESHFZNc3      604.98
 LME/SHFE LEAD                LMESHFPBc3      124.99
 LME/SHFE NICKEL              LMESHFNIc3     1453.89
                                          
 ($1 = 6.3234 Chinese yuan)

    
 (Reporting by Melanie Burton and Tom Daly in BEIJING; Editing by Amrutha
Gayathri and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
 
 
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