Industrial metals declined on Thursday amid a lack of progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade dispute and weak data from top metals consumer China.
Benchmark London copper edged down 0.3% to $5,833.50 a tonne at 0348 GMT, aluminium declined 0.4%, while nickel ticked up 0.2%, zinc eased 0.3% and lead fell 0.4%.
China is the world’s biggest metals consumer. A lingering trade war and rising tariffs pose threats to the health of the global economy as well as China’s economic growth, ultimately hurting demand for metals.
Data from China on Wednesday showed the world’s largest vehicle market in May had its worst-ever monthly automobile sales drop and factory inflation slowed during the same period as faltering manufacturing hit demand.
But prices were cushioned by expectation of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve in the backdrop of slowing growth. A rate cut could weaken U.S. dollar and make dollar-denominated metals cheaper for importers using other currencies.
“I think almost all bad news are priced in and I am waiting for a rebound,” said a metals analyst based in China.
* SHANGHAI PRICES: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.9% to 46,260 yuan ($6,684.10) a tonne, while aluminium eased 0.2%, nickel rose 0.4% and zinc declined 0.7%.
* G20: Sentiment has been hit by worries about low expectation to end a trade war as little preparation has been made for expected talks between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.
* TARIFFS : U.S. President Donald Trump declined to set a deadline on Wednesday for levying tariffs on another $325 billion of Chinese goods and called the relationship with Beijing good but “testy”.
* ECUADOR COPPER MINE: A preliminary study of the Cascabel mining project in northern Ecuador shows that it could become one of the world’s largest copper, silver and gold mines, Ecuador’s government said on Wednesday.
* KCM SMELTER: Konkola Copper Mines, owned by Vedanta Resources, plans to restart its Nchanga smelter on June 22 after having been idle pending availability of concentrates, the company said on Wednesday.
* NICKEL: Rapidly rising nickel supplies and slowing demand from stainless steel mills are weighing on prices of the metal, which are likely to come under further pressure this year as deficits disappear.
* ALUMINIUM: Some Japanese aluminium buyers have agreed to pay a premium of $108 per tonne for shipments in July to September, up 3% from the current quarter, amid tighter supply in Asia, sources said on Wednesday.