|24 May, 2019

Copper rebounds but on track for 6th straight weekly fall

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.4% to $5,948 a tonne

Copper components used for plumbing are seen on sale at the Surtidora Ferretera River Store in Mexico City, Mexico October 24, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Copper components used for plumbing are seen on sale at the Surtidora Ferretera River Store in Mexico City, Mexico October 24, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

SINGAPORE  - Copper rebounded on Friday from its lowest since Jan. 14 hit in the previous session, as the U.S. dollar eased, but was heading for its sixth straight week of losses on a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

China said the United States needs to correct its "wrong actions" in order to continue trade talks, while U.S. President Donald Trump said Huawei could be included in the trade deal after banning U.S. firms to work with the Chinese telecoms giant.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.4% to $5,948 a tonne by 0412 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 0.3% to 46,950 yuan ($6,791.36) a tonne.

But on a weekly basis, London copper is heading for its sixth consecutive decline, while Shanghai copper is also bound for a fall this week.

"In the options space across the second half of this year, we are seeing puts (for copper) remain wanted whilst upsides are softer," said commodities broker Marex Spectron in a note.

The metals market gained some support as the dollar fell from a two-year high overnight and was largely unchanged on Friday, on fears that a trade war with China will hurt the U.S. economy more than expected and on expectations of a rate cut.

A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper to importers using other currencies.

"The markets seem to be running to the current pattern with prices being pushed down during the week and then a short covering late Thursday and into the Friday morning Asian session," said Malcolm Freeman of Kingdom Futures in a note.

FUNDAMENTALS

* NICKEL: Fitch on Friday revised down their London three-month nickel average price forecast for 2019 to $13,250 a tonne, from $14,500 estimated earlier, on rising global economic risks, an escalating trade dispute and disappointing refined nickel demand from China so far this year.

* CHINA: China's commerce ministry said that more efforts should be made to achieve the goal of stabilising trade while improving its quality, adding that the trade environment is growing more uncertain and challenging.

* SQM: Chile's SQM, the world's No. 2 producer of lithium, said it would delay a key expansion of production capacity from the Atacama salt flat until the end of 2021 amid a slump in prices for the coveted battery metal.

* LONDON PRICES: London aluminium rose 0.4%, nickel  increased 0.2%, zinc edged up 0.2%, and lead was 0.5% higher.

* SHANGHAI PRICES: Shanghai aluminium rose 0.7%, nickel eased 0.3% and zinc dropped as much as 1.9% to its lowest since Jan. 18 at 20,000 yuan a tonne.

* ALUMINIUM: Zhang Shiping, who oversaw the rise of China Hongqiao Group into the world's biggest aluminium producer, died on Thursday at the age of 73, the company said.

($1 = 6.9132 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Shreejay Sinha) ((mai.nguyen@thomsonreuters.com; +6568703435; Reuters Messaging: mai.nguyen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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