Copper prices in both London and Shanghai exchanges drifted in Asian trade on Tuesday as fears of a recession in the United States were offset by a supply disruption at a key copper mine in Peru.
“So far, the impact on metals is all macro driven, and I think the market is now looking for a catalyst for its next move,” said analyst Helen Lau of broker Argonaut in Hong Kong.
The disruption at MMG’s Las Bambas mine may add to supply concerns because it is one of the world’s top copper mines, she added.
* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.2 percent to $6,325.5 a tonne as of 0700 GMT, after closing up 0.4 percent on Monday. The most traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended down 0.4 percent at 48,230 yuan ($7,186) a tonne.
* PERU: Chinese copper miner MMG said it expected to declare force majeure under sales contracts at its Las Bambas mine in Peru after a protest from an indigenous community caused a weeks-long road blockade. Production is expected to be progressively impacted from later this week, it said.
* COPPER: Chilean state miner Codelco said on Monday it had terminated its contract with Canadian company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc at its Chuquicamata mine in northern Chile, accusing the engineering firm of failing to comply with its work commitments at the world’s largest open pit mine.
* SPREADS: Cash copper switched to trading at a discount of $3 a tonne to the three-month contract CMCU0-3 as of Monday, having stayed in premium zone since Feb. 15 and peaked at a premium of $70 on March 5.
* OTHER METALS: Shanghai zinc was the top performer, rising 1.9 percent to close at 22,225 yuan a tonne amid tightening stocks. In London, zinc, aluminium and lead all gained slightly.
* ZINC: China’s refined zinc imports plunged to a two-year low of 20,350 tonnes in February, according to customs data, due to an unfavourable arbitrage between London and Shanghai. Refined copper cathode imports fell 5.5 percent year-on-year to 213,947 tonnes.