Wires

METALS-Copper hits over 3-year low as coronavirus fears grips markets

Zandi Shabalala

* U.S. coronavirus measures underwhelm market

* ECB expected to unveil new stimulus measures

* Virus peaks in China - officials (Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - Copper fell to its lowest in over three years on Thursday after the United States imposed curbs on travel from Europe due to the coronavirus but investors were disappointed by the lack of detail on other plans to cushion its economy from the pandemic.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 2.5% at $5,390 a tonne by 1140 GMT, after falling as low as $5,389, its lowest since November 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered travel from Europe to the United States to be restricted for 30 days, responding to mounting pressure to take action against the rapidly spreading outbreak.

But markets have been disappointed by scant details of the U.S. measures, despite pledges of support for businesses and requests for a payroll-tax relief, analysts said.

"Markets across the board are in risk off mode, everything is in panic mode," said WisdomTree commodity strategist Nitesh Shah.

"There is not enough clarity and decisiveness with (Trump's) action and the market doesn't seem to be impressed."

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS: The U.S. travel restrictions follow similar moves by other countries to restrict travel in order to contain the virus which has disrupted economic activity mainly in China, which is the world's top consumer of metals.

PANDEMIC: The World Health Organization described the new coronavirus as a pandemic for the first time on Wednesday, urging the global community to intensify efforts to contain the outbreak.

VIRUS PEAKS: In China, the epicentre of the virus, the epidemic passed its peak as new infections slowed, its top health commission said on Thursday.

STIMULUS: The European Central Bank is all but certain to announce new stimulus measures on Thursday, mirroring actions by other central banks, to help the euro zone economy cope with the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.

NICKEL INVENTORIES: On-warrant stocks of nickel in LME-approved warehouses jumped to 160,842 tonnes, the highest since December 2018. <MNISTX-TOTAL>

This helped push LME nickel down 5% to $11,750 a tonne, its lowest since June 2019.

NICKEL SUPPLY: In 2020, Indonesia plans to produce 2.02 million tonnes of processed nickel, such as nickel pig iron and ferronickel, as well as 78,000 tonnes of nickel matte, Energy and Mineral Resources data showed.

OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium eased 0.7% to $1,664 a tonne, zinc decreased 2% to $1,948, lead was down 1.2% at $1,743 a tonne while tin shed 2.6% to $16,260.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by David Evans)