METALS-Copper rises for a second week on U.S.-China trade progress

Peter Hobson

(Updates with official prices) LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped on Friday but were still up for a second consecutive week after the United States and China said they had agreed a "phase one" trade deal but were hazy on details. The agreement suspends and reduces some U.S. tariffs on imports from China in return for Beijing purchasing U.S. agricultural goods, but a lack of specifics left investors nonplussed.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME)

traded down 0.4% at $6,130 a tonne in closing rings after earlier reaching $6,216, the highest since May. But the metal, used in used in power and construction, was still around 2.5% higher this week and up some 5.5% from lows on Dec. 1. "The market has been pricing in before the deal was announced," said Capital Economics analyst Kieran Clancy. "The reaction could be a sign that they are underwhelmed." But he said a stabilization in global manufacturing activity and relatively tight supply would likely push copper prices slightly higher through next year.

CHINA: Investor sentiment was also boosted by a pledge from top officials in China, the biggest consumer of metals, to make economic policies more effective in 2020. YUAN/DOLLAR: The yuan strengthened against the dollar, making dollar-priced metals cheaper for Chinese buyers.

MARKETS: Chinese stocks rallied sharply and global equities also gained, with an emphatic general election victory for Britain's Brexit-backing Conservative Party adding to the positive mood. GERMANY: The economy faces another sluggish year despite a likely rebound in exports, the country's central bank said on Friday as it halved its growth forecast for 2020. COPPER STOCKS: Headline inventories in LME-registered warehouses fell to 171,800 tonnes, the lowest since April 1. <MCUSTX-TOTAL> ALUMINIUM SPREAD: The discount for cash aluminum versus the three-month contract expanded to $11.65 from a hefty premium at the start of the month, pointing to tighter nearby supply. <MAL0-3>

OTHER METALS: LME aluminum ended down 0.4% at$1,768 a tonne, zinc fell 0.4% to $2,253, leadslipped 1.4% to $1,910 and tin dropped 0.1% to $17,225.Nickel bucked the trend, rising 0.5% to $14,170.

All were set for weekly gains except aluminum, which was roughly flat for the week.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Tom Daly; editing by David Evans and Louise Heavens)