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METALS-Copper hits 2-month low on rising supply, dollar

Susan Thomas
Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 | 6:19 AM ET

* Fed official says tapering still on table for Dec meet

* Dollar rises vs euro, yen on Fed tapering prospects

* BHP says nickel output will be hit by earthquake

(Updates prices, adds comment, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Copper fell to its lowest in two months on Wednesday on a looming surplus and as the dollar rose against the euro after a Federal Reserve official raised the prospect of a retreat from monetary stimulus next month.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1 percent to $7,046 a tonne by 1111 GMT from, extending losses from the previous session when it broke through its 100 day moving average of $7,118, according to Reuters data.

"To me this is because fundamentals for copper are not great, and they have been deteriorating for a long time," BNP Paribas analyst Stephen Briggs said.

Copper hit its lowest since mid-September at $7,030, a few dollars of $7,024 it hit on Sept. 13, and near the bottom end of $7,000 to $7,420 range it has held since early August.

The chief executive of Codelco, the world's biggest producer of copper, said on Tuesday copper prices would not suffer significantly by a modest global surplus next year, even as the company forges ahead with an ambitious investment plan to boost output at its massive mines.

Analysts polled by Reuters last month forecast a surplus of 182,000 tonnes this year, up from a previous forecast of 153,000 tonnes, and then balloon to a 328,000-tonnes surplus in 2014.

World demand for copper has exceeded supply since the global financial crisis, but increased output from new and existing mines started reversing that trend this year.

The dollar rose against the euro and hovered close to a two-month high against the yen after a Fed member said a cut in the central bank's bond-buying operations remained a possibility next month.

A stronger U.S. currency makes it more expensive for foreign investors to buy dollar-priced commodities, thus pressuring prices lower. Less stimulus also means lower liquidity for business and for commodities investors, eroding demand for metals.

Investors are also scrutinising still patchy details from China's Communist Party policy meeting to set an economic blueprint for the coming decade.

The plenum "was very vague as far as pace and degree of reform. It raised uncertainty and as part of that there is selling of risky assets today," Thomas Lam, chief economist at DMG & Partners Securities in Singapore, said.

China's leaders pledged to let markets play a "decisive" role in the economy, although they gave few details. China is the world's top consumer of copper, accounting for around 40 percent of refined demand.

Traders said that the South East Asian market for copper was tight but that it should not be too affected by the shutdown of a Philippines smelter in the short term, as concentrate could be shipped elsewhere for processing into copper cathode.

Glencore Xstrata's PASAR copper smelter and refinery in the Philippines has sustained "heavy structural damage" after one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, typhoon Haiyan, battered the country.

BHP Billiton will post lower nickel production in the current quarter after a minor earthquake closed down operations at its Perseverance mine in western Australia.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Three month LME tin

($1 = 6.0919 Chinese yuan)

(Editing by William Hardy)