September 11, 2019 / 12:29 PM / 9 days ago

METALS-Copper falls as slumping China auto sales signal weak demand

 (Updates with closing prices)
    By Peter Hobson
    LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Copper prices dipped on
Wednesday after a sharp fall in Chinese auto sales underlined
fears of weaker demand from the world's largest consumer of
metals. 
    Concerns over China's economic outlook outweighed any
optimism from a decision by Beijing to exempt some U.S. goods
from additional tariffs, potentially easing tensions in a
damaging trade dispute.             
    Benchmark copper         on the London Metal Exchange (LME)
did not trade in closing rings but was bid down 0.9% at $5,772 a
tonne, moving toward a two-year low of $5,518 hit earlier this
month. 
    Unless a U.S.-China trade deal is reached, prices will
likely remain around current levels as weaker demand is offset
by constraints on supply, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. 
    "We've seen the bottom for copper for this year," he said.  
    
    CHINA CARS: China's total auto sales fell 6.9% from the same
month a year earlier to 1.96 million, the China Association of
Automobile Manufacturers said, warning of weak sales ahead.
            
    The figures follow a string of weak Chinese manufacturing
data. China has made some moves to stimulate activity, including
a cut to bank reserve requirements announced last week.
             
    CHINA OUTPUT: Refined copper cathode production by major
Chinese smelters fell by 0.5% in August from a month earlier, a
survey by research house Antaike showed.             
    PERU: An indefinite strike by mining unions in Peru that
started on Tuesday has failed to draw large numbers of workers
and has not affected output at mines in the world's No.2 copper,
zinc, and silver producer, an industry association said.
            
    NICKEL: LME nickel         closed down 0.8% at $17,900 a
tonne even as the premium for cash metal over the three-month
contract surged to a 10-year high of $107, pointing to tighter
nearby supply. MNI0-3
    Benchmark nickel leaped to a five-year high of $18,850 this
month after top supplier Indonesia said it would ban ore exports
next year.             
    STOCKS: On-warrant stocks of nickel available to the market
in LME-registered warehouses fell to 83,346 tonnes, down from
around 250,000 tonnes at the start of 2018 and the lowest since
2011. MNISTX-TOTAL
    One entity holds between 80% and 89% of warrants.
<0#LME-WHL>    
    PHILIPPINES: Nickel miners in the Philippines are likely to
ramp up ore output by next year, but their production capacity
is limited, a local industry lobby group said.             
    The Philippines' mining watchdog meanwhile recommended
lifting the suspension of a small-sized nickel miner.
            
    LEAD: China's primary lead output rose 3.6% year-on-year to
242,000 tonnes in August, while recycled lead production was up
9.1% year-on-year at 196,000 tonnes, Antaike said.             
    Benchmark lead         finished down 0.4% at $2,093 a tonne.
    OTHER METALS: LME aluminium         closed up 0.3% at $1,825
a tonne, zinc         gained 1.1% to $2,363 and tin         rose
2.2% to $17,775. 
    
     
    

 (Reporting by Peter Hobson; additional reporting by Tom Daly;
editing by Alexander Smith and Lisa Shumaker)
  
 
 
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