×

METALS-Copper hits 4-month low as China imports slide

* China copper imports fall 30 pct m/m in April

* LME/ShFE arb: http://tmsnrt.rs/2oQ5nm2

* Tin firms as inventories hit lowest since 1989 (Updates throughout, adds LONDON dateline)

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Copper slid to a four-month low on Monday after data showed a sharp drop in imports in April into China, the world's biggest consumer, feeding pessimism over demand following hefty inflows into London Metal Exchange inventories last week.

China's April copper imports fell 30 percent month on month to 300,000 tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed, and were down by a third from a year ago as a subdued outlook for industrial activity weighed on demand.

"Sentiment is still down in the copper market due to the increase in the LME inventories (last week), and especially today due to the fact that Chinese trade figures were disappointing," ABN Amro analyst Casper Burgering said.

"We have some new data coming out this week and next, especially industrial production from China," he said. "Given the decrease in the PMI level recently, everybody is worried that that will translate into lower industrial production on a yearly basis, and if that happens the copper price will be negative again. It will be an interesting week."

* LONDON COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 1.5 percent at $5,502 a tonne at 0930 GMT. Earlier in the session, the metal dropped as low as $5,482.75 a tonne, its lowest since Jan. 4.

* LME STOCKS: Copper inventories in London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouses dipped by 3,100 tonnes on Friday, exchange data showed, after surging more than 100,000 tonnes in the previous three days.

* COMEX COPPER: Money managers raised their net long position in copper futures and options in the week to May 2, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed.

* TECHNICALS: LME copper may break support at $5,508 a tonne and fall into a $5,352-$5,443 range, its wave pattern, a Fibonacci projection analysis and a falling channel suggest, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said. Aluminium may test support at $1,889, a break of which could cause a loss to the next support at $1,876, he said.

* ALUMINIUM PRICES: LME aluminium was down 1.2 percent at $1,880 a tonne, off an earlier two-month low of $1,879.50.

* TIN STOCKS: Stocks of tin held in LME warehouses fell another 115 tonnes on Friday to their lowest since 1989, at 2,375 tonnes. LME tin inventories have fallen more than 60 percent from their mid-February peak.

* LME TIN: Tin prices were up 0.6 percent at $19,690 a tonne, bucking the weakening trend across base metals.

* OTHER METALS: LME nickel was 0.8 percent lower at $9,070 a tonne, while zinc was down 0.8 percent at $2,560.50 and lead was 1.3 percent lower at $1,253.50.

(Additional reporting by James Regan in Sydney. Editing by Jane Merriman)