May 4, 2020 / 7:06 AM / a month ago

METALS-London copper hits near 2-week low as some producers resume work

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, May 4 (Reuters) - London copper prices fell to a near two-week low on Monday as some producers looked set to resume operations, while the coronavirus outbreak clouded global demand prospects.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell as much as 1% to $5,060 a tonne, its lowest since April 22. The contract was down 0.7% at $5,075 a tonne by 0646 GMT.

Global metals demand is expected to dwindle this year due to the economic pain wrought by the pandemic, but prices have been supported by recent production cuts in major producing countries.

“There are many conflicting views of whether metals will go into surplus or defects of supply over demand. One thing for certain is that the road ahead will be bumpy and long,” Malcolm Freeman, a director at Kingdom Futures, said in a note.

“The industrial world outside of the United States is beginning to return and the United States is desperate to, but (they) must weigh the risk of returning too early and the possibility of a secondary wave of coronavirus infections,” Freeman added.

The global copper market is headed for a surplus of between 200,000-300,000 tonnes in 2020, the head of miner Antofagasta told Chilean media.

Meanwhile, Peru, the world’s second-biggest-producer of copper, said on Sunday it will gradually ease virus-driven restrictions on key sectors including mining in May.

Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines will resume mining for 90 days following a backlash from the government, but the company still expects to go ahead with its initial plan to place operations on hold.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHFE: The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) is closed for a public holiday in China and will reopen on Wednesday.

* NICKEL: Police in Indonesia’s North Maluku province arrested 8 people linked to a workers’ demonstration that turned violent at a nickel project run by France’s Eramet and China’s Tsingshan Holding Group.

* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium fell 0.7% to $1,476 a tonne, nickel was down 0.7% to $11,870 a tonne, zinc declined 0.9% to $1,895.50 a tonne and lead decreased 0.6% to $1,619 a tonne.

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

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Aditya Soni

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