January 11, 2019 / 11:40 AM / 2 months ago

METALS-Base metals rise on trade detente hopes as U.S.-China talks loom

* Copper on track for biggest weekly jump since Nov.

* Dollar claws back earlier losses but metals hold up

* Zinc backwardation eases (Adds closing prices, updates dollar, headline)

By Zandi Shabalala

LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Friday on hopes for a thaw in a trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, as the two sides prepared for more talks to resolve their issues.

U.S. officials expect China’s top trade negotiator to visit Washington this month, signalling that higher-level discussions are likely to follow this week’s talks with mid-level officials in Beijing.

The tit-for-tat trade dispute has pushed down metals prices on expectations it could hurt demand, especially from top consumer China.

“We started off the year with a series of weak data that raised concerns about demand, but it’s a better environment for base metals at the moment given the progress in trade talks,” Danske Bank commodities analyst Jens Pedersen said.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended 0.2 percent higher at $5,942 per tonne, logging its biggest weekly gain since mid-November.

INTEREST RATES: The dollar rose against the euro, boosted by technical factors after falling earlier on a message that the U.S Federal Reserve will be patient on monetary policy.

INDONESIA TIN: Indonesia exported 5,260.55 tonnes of refined tin last month, an increase of nearly 51 percent from a month earlier, data from the Trade Ministry showed.

CHINA: China plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6-6.5 percent in 2019 compared with last year’s target of “around” 6.5 percent, policy sources told Reuters, as Beijing gears up to cope with higher U.S. tariffs and weakening domestic demand.

ZINC: China’s refined zinc production saw its steepest plunge since 2013 last year amid tight raw material supply, longer maintenance periods and the relocation of the country’s top smelter, according to Antaike, the research arm of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.

ZINC SPREAD: The discount of LME cash zinc to the three-month contract CMZN0-3 narrowed to $12 a tonne, the smallest since Oct. 15.

OTHER METALS: Nickel was the biggest gainer in the base metals complex, rising 2 percent to $11,460 per tonne after touching its highest since Nov. 15.

STOCKS: On-warrant stocks of nickel MNISTX-TOTAL available to the market in LME-approved warehouses were at their lowest since April 2014 at 144,882 tonnes.

Aluminium fell 1.3 percent to $1,836 per tonne, zinc gained 1.3 percent to $2,492, lead rose 1.3 percent to $2,002, and tin added 0.8 percent to close at $20,300 after touching a six-month high.

Additional reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton

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