Top Stories
Top Stories
Wires

METALS-Copper pinned at two-year low by trade conflict

Zandi Shabalala

(Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Copper prices hovered around a two-year low on Tuesday as further escalation in the U.S-China trade conflict delayed resolution to a dispute that has depressed economic growth and increased fears over metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) edged up 0.2% to $5,697 a tonne at 1023 GMT, failing to achieve any real distance from the $5,640 two-year low touched in the previous session.

China's central bank on Tuesday said that Washington's decision to label Beijing as a currency manipulator would "severely damage international financial order and cause chaos in financial markets".

ING commodities analyst Warren Patterson said that future prices will continue to be dictated by macro events and that Tuesday's prices were "a bit of a correction" after the previous session's plunge.

The escalation in tensions could cause a further rift between the world's two largest economies and hurt global economic growth, including in China, the world's biggest metals consumer.

TRADE WAR: The U.S.-China dispute has already spread beyond tariffs to areas such as technology, with analysts warning that tit-for-tat measures could widen in scope and severity, weighing further on business confidence and global economic growth.

CHINESE CURRENCY: The offshore yuan pulled back from a record low after Beijing appeared to take steps to prevent it from weakening further after the sharp drop that prompted the U.S. government to accuse China of manipulating its currency. A sharp weakening of the yuan has made metals more expensive for buyers in China.

CHINESE PREMIUMS: Yangshan copper premiums <SMM-CUYP-CN> have climbed to their highest since mid-February at $66.50 a tonne, suggesting stronger physical demand in China, though ING said the demand outlook remains uncertain because of the trade conflict.

NICKEL INDONESIA: The Indonesian Nickel Miners Association says it sent a letter to President Joko Widodo asking the government to allow low-grade nickel ore exports for all miners and to regulate domestic pricing for the mineral.

COPPER: Proposed U.S. tariffs against the European Union over aircraft subsidies could concentrate market control over some supplies of copper alloy in the hands of a German-owned company and hurt American businesses, U.S. industry players said.

EQUITIES: Jefferies lowered its ratings on several miners on Tuesday and reduced its commodity price forecasts, citing increasing chances of the Sino-U.S. trade war having a "significant impact" on global metals demand.

PRICES: Aluminium rose from a seven-week low touched on Monday, gaining 0.4% to $1,770 a tonne while zinc firmed by 0.5% to $2,323 after touching an 11-month low in the previous session.

Lead jumped 2.5% to $2,002, tin rose 0.7% to $17,030 and nickel advanced 1% to a two-week high of $15,030.

(Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in SINGAPORE Editing by David Goodman)