March 23, 2020 / 2:35 AM / 6 days ago

METALS-Base metals tumble as virus-related curbs deepen slowdown fears

SINGAPORE, March 23 (Reuters) - Base metals prices slumped on Monday as a jump in shutdowns and restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus deepened worries about a slowdown in global economic growth.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 6.3% at $4,509 a tonne by 0201 GMT, while the May contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) declined 4.6% to 36,610 yuan ($5,169.52) a tonne.

More countries are locking down cities, telling businesses to shut down, and imposing tighter restrictions on transportation to curb the transmission of the virus that has killed over 12,000 people and infected nearly 300,000 globally.

A top International Monetary Fund official said last week the impact of the pandemic would be “quite severe,” but the global economy should weather the current shock.

FUNDAMENTALS

* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium fell 2.2% to $1,547 a tonne, nickel declined 0.5% to $11,170 a tonne, zinc decreased 2% to $1,812 a tonne, lead was down 2.7% to $1,615 a tonne and tin tumbled 6.5% to $13,040 a tonne.

* SHANGHAI PRICES: ShFE nickel declined 3.1% to 91,940 yuan a tonne, zinc fell 2.1% to 14,585 a tonne, tin was down 2.4% to 107,080 yuan a tonne, while the aluminium May contract dropped 5.4% to 11,320 yuan a tonne.

* HONGQIAO: China Hongqiao Group, the world’s biggest aluminium producer, said lower costs boosted net profit by 12.7% in 2019 despite a sharp drop in output, as it announced its intention to boost production from scrap metal.

* TIANQI: Tianqi Lithium Corp had postponed commissioning of the first phase of its flagship Australian processing plant due to rising liquidity problems after the outbreak.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares slid as more countries all but shut down in the fight against the coronavirus, threatening to overwhelm policymakers’ frantic efforts to cushion what is clear to be a deep global recession.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

1230 Canada Wholesale Trade MM Jan

1500 EU Consumer Confid. Flash March

— China Final Trade Data Jan-Feb

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 = 7.0819 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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