August 16, 2019 / 2:17 AM / 2 months ago

METALS-Copper nearly flat on trade conflict uncertainty

SINGAPORE, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Copper prices were almost unchanged on Friday, amid conflicting messages about the ongoing trade discussions between the United States and China.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that U.S. and Chinese negotiators were holding “productive” trade talks and expected them to meet in September.

Meanwhile, China vowed to counter the latest U.S. tariffs but called on the United States to meet it halfway on a potential trade deal.

Prices of copper, seen as a gauge of economic health, have been hurt by the prolonged trade war between the world’s two biggest economies and have fallen 3.6% so far this year on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

FUNDAMENTALS

* PRICES: Three-month copper on the LME was almost unchanged at $5,750 a tonne by 0156 GMT, while Shanghai Futures Exchange’s most-traded copper contract was nearly flat at 46,400 yuan ($6,591.19) a tonne.

* LYNAS: Malaysia on Thursday renewed the operating licence for a rare earths processing plant owned by miner Lynas Corp for six months with new conditions, an extension shorter than investors and industry analysts had expected.

* OTHER PRICES: London aluminium rose 0.2%, nickel edged up 0.1% while lead and tin fell 0.9% each. Shanghai aluminium rose 0.3%, nickel jumped 2.5% and lead rose 0.7%.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares were heading for weekly losses as conflicting messages on the Sino-U.S. trade war only added to worries for the global economy, while talk of aggressive central bank stimulus drove bond yields to fresh lows.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

1230 US Housing Starts Number July

1400 US U Mich Sentiment Prelim August

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 = 7.0397 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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