curbs@ (Updates prices)
SINGAPORE, March 12 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell to multi-year lows on Thursday as the United States shocked world markets by suspending travel from Europe to arrest the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which world health officials have labeled a pandemic.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell as much as 2.2% to $5,406.50 a tonne, its lowest since November 2016. It cut some losses to trade 1.7% lower at $5,433.50 a tonne by 0712 GMT.
The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) hit a 40-month trough of 42,880 yuan ($6,143.00) a tonne in early trade and closed 2.5% lower at 43,130 yuan a tonne.
"China is improving but the rest of the world is so far deteriorating. Eventually the external demand shock in Europe, the United States and the rest of the world may also affect China's exports," said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities.
U.S. President Donald Trump suspended travel from virus-hit continental Europe to the United States for 30 days starting on Friday, escalating fears that the hit to businesses and the world economy from the virus would be far worse than earlier expected.
Trump also outlined several economic steps to cushion the damage from the outbreak on businesses.
"The market in general is very disappointed with the speech by President Trump. There's not much details and he didn't specify what the size of the stimulus is," Lau said.
* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminum eased 0.6% to $1,665 a tonne, nickel fell 0.4% to $12,365 a tonne, zinc decreased 1.1% to $1,965 a tonne, while lead was down 0.7% to $1,752.50 a tonne.
SHFE PRICES: ShFE aluminum declined 0.7% to 12,750 yuan a tonne, nickel dropped 2.6% to 100,080 yuan a tonne, zinc lost 1.7% to 15,730 yuan a tonne, while lead was down 0.8% to 14,375 yuan a tonne.
* CHINA: China confirmed only eight new coronavirus infections in Hubei province, the first time the epicenter of the pandemic recorded a daily tally in single-digits.
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Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminum
Most active ShFE aluminum
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
ARBS ($1 = 6.9803 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Devika Syamnath, Aditya Soni)