By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, May 30 (Reuters) - Copper prices in both London and Shanghai fell on Thursday on fears of a prolonged Sino-U.S. trade dispute, despite signs of demand picking up in China and a possible supply disruption.
Provoking trade disputes is “naked economic terrorism”, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said on Thursday, ramping up the rhetoric against the United States amid the bitter trade war between the world’s top two economies.
In a fight against U.S. sanctions that threaten to push it out of global markets, China’s telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has filed a legal motion seeking to declare a U.S. defence law unconstitutional.
The U.S. Defense Department is seeking new federal funds to bolster domestic production of rare earth minerals and reduce dependence on China as media reports said Beijing was standing ready to use rare earths to strike back at Washington.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged down 0.3% to $5,868 a tonne by 0728 GMT, hovering near a five-month low, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended 0.9% lower at 46,550 yuan ($6,741.00) a tonne.
* CODELCO: Possibility of a strike at top copper producer Codelco’s giant Chuquicamata mine increased after three unions at the mine rejected the company’s final offer for a new contract on Wednesday and approved a strike. But a government mediation to avert a strike is still an option.
* ZAMBIA COPPER: China’s Nonferrous Metals Mining Corporation, commodities trader ETG Group and a Turkish firm have expressed interest in buying a stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia, as KCM’s major shareholder Vedanta fights against Zambia’s decision to name a provisional liquidator to run KCM.
* CHINA COPPER DEMAND: Demand for copper in China, the world’s top consumer of the metal, has picked up slightly in the last month on solid air conditioning sales in northern China due to high temperature, said CRU analyst He Tianyu.
* He added that some local Chinese governments have announced their targets for infrastructure projects this year and some of the projects have already proceeded, boosting demand for copper.
* “Demand is becoming better but we still need to see what happens next given the U.S.-China trade war. The market still expects some more policies from China’s central government to stimulate end-user demand,” the analyst added.
* ZINC DEFICIT: The global zinc market saw a deficit of 44,500 tonnes in March, compared with a surplus of 27,600 tonnes in February, latest data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) showed.
* PRICES: Zinc prices rose 0.3% in London and 0.4% in Shanghai. London aluminium fell 0.1%, nickel was 0.2% lower, lead declined 0.9% and tin decreased 0.3%.
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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 = 6.9055 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu Sahu