July 14, 2020 / 6:32 AM / 22 days ago

METALS-Copper retreats from 2-year high as U.S.-China tension flares

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, July 14 (Reuters) - Copper prices declined on Tuesday as mounting Sino-U.S. tensions sparked fresh worries of economic retaliation between the world’s two biggest economies, though the correction could be short-lived given the upbeat demand in top consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.2% to $6,490 a tonne by 0705 GMT. The contract retreated from a two-year high hit in the previous session, lifted by worries of supply risks from leading producer Chile.

The most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined 0.3% to 52,210 yuan ($7,447.08) a tonne. The contract touched a 25-month high on Monday.

“We are seeing a bit of a correction today in base metals with some profit-taking coming in across Chinese stock markets amid heightened Sino-U.S. tensions after Pompeo’s comments,” said commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron.

Broader sentiment was dull after the United States rejected China’s disputed claims in most of the South China Sea, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Beijing’s claims were “completely unlawful”.

“The physical premium in China has risen this week, suggesting this is a short-term correction as demand remains firm and the concerns about disruption in Chile are real,” Stablum added.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHILE STRIKE: Supervisors at Antofagasta Minerals’ Centinela copper mine in Chile have voted in favor of strike action, pending mediation.

* CHINA: China’s June unwrought copper imports hit a record on strong domestic demand, scrap shortages and open import arbitrage window.

* OTHER METALS: LME nickel fell 0.8% to $13,605 a tonne and zinc dropped 1.8% to $2,220 a tonne. In Shanghai, aluminium declined 1.1% to 14,485 yuan a tonne, while nickel rose 1.2% to 109,050 yuan a tonne.

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$1 = 7.0108 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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