METALS-Copper falls as potential Syria strike spurs caution
* Asia equities fall, investors shy away from risky assets
* Too early to be optimistic about China-analyst
* Coming Up: U.S. pending home sales at 1400 GMT
LONDON/SINGAPORE, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Copper fell slightly on Wednesday, as jitters over a potential U.S.-led military strike against Syria made investors more adverse to risk, while concerns over excessive copper supply in top consumer China also weighed. The United States and its allies geared up for a probable military strike against Syria that could come within days. Tensions over Syria pushed Brent crude oil to six-month highs and gold to its loftiest since May, but knocked off Asian equities to a seven-week low as investors shied away from assets seen as riskier, including metals. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4 percent at $7,287 a tonne by 0936 GMT, after peaking at $7,352.50 earlier in the session. "I think in the next few days we are going to see some action in the Middle East and copper is likely to come off on the back of that while gold and oil are likely to go higher but we don't expect it to be that long lasting," Standard Chartered analyst Daniel Smith said. "But even Middle East aside, copper doesn't feel that bullish to me. Over all we are relatively optimistic on the demand side but also supply is doing quite well which is the main concern for people. And demand in China is good but not that good. I think it is still early days to get too optimistic about China." China, which accounts for about 40 percent of copper consumption, is showing signs of stabilisation, helped by policy support and some improvement in global demand, the state statistics bureau said on Monday.
TOO MUCH SUPPLY A brightening economic picture globally has fuelled a rebound in copper prices of more than 10 percent in the past two months, but most of the good news is now priced in, said Sydney-based analyst Matthew Fusarelli at AME Group. "In China, fabricators are running down their supply chains, there is more mine supply coming online...we don't see anything that is going to add to demand so it's pretty hard to see a sustained uplift in prices," he added. Copper prices are still down more than 8 percent for the year. In industry news, Indonesia has proposed several amendments to a controversial 2014 ban on unprocessed mineral exports, the industry minister said, as it scrambles to boost the rupiah and restore confidence in Southeast Asia's largest economy. "Given the precarious economic situation and the collapse of the Indonesian rupiah, the government had already lifted the export quotas for unprocessed minerals at the end of last week. This allowed the world market supply of metals such as nickel, copper, tin and bauxite to be increased," Commerzbank said in a note.
Metal Prices at 0942 GMT Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T
Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2012 Ytd Pct
LME Alum 1880.00 -7.00 -0.37 2073.00 -9.31 LME Cu 7280.50 -34.50 -0.47 7931.00 -8.20 LME Lead 2223.50 -0.50 -0.02 2330.00 -4.57 LME Nickel 14270.00 -155.00 -1.07 17060.00 -16.35 LME Tin 21600.00 -225.00 -1.03 23400.00 -7.69 LME Zinc 1973.00 -10.00 -0.50 2080.00 -5.14 SHFE Alu 14425.00 -20.00 -0.14 15435.00 -6.54 SHFE Cu* 52470.00 -500.00 -0.94 57690.00 -9.05 SHFE Zin 15000.00 -100.00 -0.66 15625.00 -4.00 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN
SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07