(Updates prices) Feb 6 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Thursday, driven by concerns about a potential supply shortage of refined metals due to transport restrictions in China aimed at containing a virus outbreak.Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose
as much as 1.6% to $5,813.50 a tonne, its highest since Jan. 27,while aluminium was up 0.5% at $1,726 a tonne by 0707GMT. Zinc increased 0.7% to $2,227.50 a tonne.
"Not only is the demand side impacted, but also the supply side," said a China-based metals analyst, who asked not be identified because of company policy. "If the outbreak situation does not improve, some smelters may consider cutting production," the analyst said, adding that aluminium and zinc were also affected by the same concerns. Output at Chinese copper smelters could fall by more than 15% in February from last month, while zinc production could also drop if transport restrictions are not eased soon, said research house Antaike. Some container ports in China are congested with less working labour amid the outbreak. China's move to cut import tariffs on U.S. goods also boosted sentiment. The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai FuturesExchange rose 1.4% to 46,040 yuan ($6,605.17) a tonne,while aluminium advanced 0.4% to 13,670 yuan a tonneand zinc edged up 0.2% to 17,335 yuan a tonne.
"All my previously booked vessels out of China have to be postponed," said a base metals trader based in Singapore. "Nothing can be guaranteed now, even the new shipment schedule. I am not the only one getting affected." However, the trader warned that the price rally might not last as downstream users cutting output due to supply shortage could hurt economic growth, citing Hyundai Motor's production suspension in South Korea as an example.
* TOLL: Another 73 people on the Chinese mainland died due to the coronavirus outbreak, the highest daily increase, taking the total death toll from the virus to 563.
* SCRAP: China issued import quotas for another 4,620 tonnes of high-grade copper scrap and 1,440 tonnes of aluminium scrap for use in 2020.
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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 Most active ShFE nickel Three month LME tin Most active ShFE tin
($1 = 6.9703 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Aditya Soni)