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METALS-Copper retreats on negative China, Russia rouble crisis
December 17, 2014 / 2:36 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Copper retreats on negative China, Russia rouble crisis

* Copper down on China, Russian signs of more supply

* Discovery Metals said price too low to run its mine (Adds company details, updates prices)

SYDNEY, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Copper eased on Wednesday, dragged down by a rise in Chinese output and concerns a sharp drop in the rouble could see Russian producers step up metals production

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had dropped 0.26 percent to $6,348.50 a tonne by 0210 GMT, extending losses from the previous session.

The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 1 percent to 45,660 yuan ($7,378) a tonne.

Production of refined copper in China, the world’s biggest market for the metal, rose 3.1 percent from the previous month in November, hitting a record for the fourth straight month.

Investors were also keeping an eye on Russia after the rouble plunged more than 11 percent against the dollar on Tuesday despite a hefty interest rate hike by the central bank.

Copper prices have now plunged by around $1,000 a tonne since the start of the year, underscoring a mounting supply glut, which miners says could take years to work through.

A worldwide copper supply surplus of 300,000 tonnes is forecast in 2015 by Australia’s Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, equivalent to half a year’s output by South Korea.

Discovery Metals Ltd earlier on Wednesday said it will suspend copper mining in Botswana within the next six months, citing the deteriorating world copper price.

Meanwhile, aluminium showed only modest signs of pulling out of negative territory. Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange stood at $1,9190 a tonne, up $3.50 from the previous session close, where intraday trading too contract to a two-month low of $1,900.75.

Traders said uncertainty surrounding longer-term implications of an unprecedented drop in the rouble had sidelined some metals investors.

A weakened rouble could entice Russian metals producers to lift production of metals, which are sold in U.S. dollars.

Russia is the world’s sixth-biggest copper producer and second-biggest aluminium producer

However, Russian aluminium giant Rusal’s on Tuesday ruled out restarting production capacity, warning it did not want to repeat mistakes made after the 2008 global financial crisis, when many producers stepped up production despite large inventories.

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

Three month LME tin

$1 = 6.1889 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Michael Perry

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