February 4, 2019 / 2:42 AM / 12 days ago

METALS-Copper eases for 2nd session on China growth concerns

(Updates prices, adds analyst comment)

SINGAPORE, Feb 4 (Reuters) - London copper prices ticked lower on Monday, easing for a second session with the market under pressure from concerns over slowing factory activity in China - the world’s top industrial metals consumer.

Trading was dampened by the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which has closed markets in China.

Asia stocks were barely moved, staying near a four-month high after Wall Street’s tepid pre-weekend performance, while the dollar was supported against the yen following strong U.S. jobs and manufacturing data.

COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell $6 a tonne, or 0.1 percent, to $6,133 a tonne by 0240 GMT.

FACTORY ACTIVITY: China’s factory activity shrank by the most in almost three years in January as new orders slumped further and output fell, a private survey showed, reinforcing fears that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is deepening.

HOLIDAYS: “There’s a lack of trading activity because of Lunar New Year holidays in China,” said Helen Lau, analyst, Argonaut Securities. “China’s slowing manufacturing is weighing on metals markets.”

TRADE DEAL: Expectations of a trade deal between Washington and Beijing kept a floor under the market. U.S. President Donald Trump said he would meet China’s Xi Jinping soon to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal, citing substantial progress.

JOBS DATA: A U.S. Labor Department report on Friday showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by a stronger-than-forecast 304,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February 2018. That report, along with better-than-expected ISM manufacturing activity numbers for January, pointed to underlying strength in the world’s biggest economy.

DEAL: Top copper miner Codelco said it had struck a contract deal with the union of supervisors at its Gabriela Mistral mine in northern Chile, averting the threat of a strike.

CME: The CME Group has reinstated approved status for warranting aluminium produced by United Company Rusal after U.S. sanctions were lifted against the company on Sunday.

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

Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Shreejay Sinha and Richard Pullin

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