June 13, 2019 / 2:25 AM / 2 months ago

METALS-Base metals trade in tight rage amid tariff deal uncertainty

SINGAPORE, June 13 (Reuters) - Industrial metals traded in tight ranges on Thursday as a lack of progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade tension continued to weigh on prices.

Benchmark London copper edged up 0.1% to $5,855 a tonne at 0153 GMT, aluminium declined 0.3%, while nickel eased 0.1%, zinc ticked up 0.2% and lead fell 0.2%.

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.

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.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.7% to 46,400 yuan ($6,706.07) a tonne, while aluminium eased 0.1%, nickel edged up 0.3% and zinc was almost flat.

* 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” after China walked back commitments for a trade deal.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks stuttered, dogged by the uncertainty over an intractable U.S.-China trade dispute, while oil prices flirted with five-month lows thanks to higher U.S. crude inventories and a bleaker demand outlook.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0130 Australia Employment May

0130 Australia Unemployment Rate May

0600 Germany HICP Final YY May

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

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 = 6.9191 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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