* Exports from China jump 14.5 pct in July
* China's copper arrivals fall 2.9 pct in July
* China's bonded copper stocks seen falling to 660,000 T
(Updates with closing prices)
By Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, Aug 8 Copper prices steadied on Friday,
but remained near a five-week low due to increased supply and
lacklustre demand from top consumer China.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
(LME) closed at $6,995 a tonne, compared with $6,970 at the
close on Thursday.
Buoyant exports from China pushed its trade surplus to a
record last month, fuelling optimism that global demand will
help counter pressure on the domestic economy from a weakening
Its copper arrivals, however, dropped 2.9 percent
month-on-month in July, falling for a third straight month,
after small importers delayed refined metal shipments.
The metal, used in power and construction, sank to a
five-week low on Wednesday at $6,951.75 a tonne.
"The Chinese import number is punching the copper prices
lower, and given that we have a war of sanctions between Russia
and the West, it can only translate as weakness for copper
demand," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade.
In the latest development in the Ukraine crisis, the head of
NATO urged Russia to "step back from the brink" of war by
pulling its troops back from the Ukrainian border.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Indonesia unit has completed
its first copper concentrate export shipment since the country's
introduction of new mining rules, a spokeswoman said, signalling
the end of a seven-month tax spat with the government.
The resumption of Freeport's shipments flags a trend of
improving mine supply, which is expected to free up ore for
smelters and tip the metal into surplus after years of deficit.
"Supply is going to increase gradually throughout the second
half, because many smelters already had maintenance shutdowns in
the first half, so we believe that their performance will be
better," said analyst Li Chunlan at consultancy CRU in Beijing.
"Overall, demand might have a seasonal pick-up from
September, but year-on-year it will be steady ... I don't think
there will be a strong demand recovery going forward because of
sliding real estate investment, sales and prices."
The copper market is expected to be in a 226,000 tonne
surplus by the end of 2014, a Reuters poll in July showed, with
the surplus seen rising to 285,000 tonnes in 2015.
Bonded copper stocks in China have fallen to 660,000 tonnes,
from 815,000 tonnes at the end of May, in part because suspected
metals fraud in China's Qingdao port has made it more difficult
for traders to finance stock, Li said.
In other metals, benchmark nickel closed at $18,560,
slipping back after rallying to a 1-1/2 week high on Thursday
on supply worries that have flared this year after a ban on
Indonesian ore exports took effect in January. It closed at
$18,725 on Thursday.
LME zinc closed at $2,295 a tonne from $2,357.50,
while lead closed at $2,240 from $2,243.
LME aluminium, untraded at the close, was bid at
$2,024 per tonne from $2,015, and tin, also untraded,
was bid at $22,375 from $22,280.
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
(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney; Editing by
David Evans and Jane Baird)