September 9, 2019 / 4:23 AM / a month ago

METALS-Base metals decline as weak China data dents demand outlook

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Prices for industrial metals fell on Monday as data from China showed exports unexpectedly fell in August, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy.

China’s exports fell 1% last month from a year earlier as shipments to the United States slowed sharply amid a trade war, compared to analyst expectations of a 2% rise. Imports declined 5.6%, but at a slower pace than analyst forecast of a 6% drop.

Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) declined 0.1% by 0732 GMT, nickel was unchanged, zinc shed 1.1%, lead fell 0.1% and tin dropped 1%. Shanghai zinc declined 0.1%, lead eased 0.3% and tin tumbled 2.1%.

“It (the base metal market) mainly reflected some concerns about the overall slowing down in China,” said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities.

LME copper eased 0.2% to $5,819 a tonne, while the most active copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) fell 0.3% to 47,420 yuan ($6,648.63) a tonne.

China’s August imports of unwrought copper fell 3.8% year-on-year to 404,000 tonnes, while unwrought aluminium exports declined 9.9% to 466,000 tonnes due to unexpected production outages at two key smelters.

“Even though china has some stimulus programmes, copper has wider applications and is not just related to infrastructure. They are used more in power and consumption,” Lau said.

FUNDAMENTALS

* TRADE WAR: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday cautioned that the trade conflict could take years to resolve and declined to predict outcomes of high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in early October.

* “There could be so many scenarios. In the past one year, the market has become more cautious... no one will have a very bullish scenario for the trade talk,” Argonaut’s Lau said.

* ALUMINIUM: A Japanese aluminium buyer has agreed to pay a global producer a premium of $97 per tonne over the benchmark price for shipments in October to December, down 10% from the second quarter, a source directly involved in the talks said.

* NICKEL: Nickel Mines Ltd had amended contractual terms with a Chinese partner to limit its own ability to raise stakes in the Hengjaya Nickel project after Indonesia moved forward a nickel ore export ban.

* LEAD: The premium of LME cash lead over the three-month contract CMPB0-3 rose to near a four-week high of $7.5 a tonne, indicating tight nearby supplies. ShFE lead stocks dropped to its lowest since Jan. 4 PB-STX-SGH.

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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 = 7.1323 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu)

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