December 17, 2019 / 5:29 AM / a month ago

METALS-Copper rangebound as investors seek clarity on trade deal

(Updates prices, recasts)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Copper prices edged up in rangebound trade on Tuesday, as investors sought clarity over some key aspects of the interim Sino-U.S. trade deal announced last week.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday said Washington and Beijing would sign a deal in the first week of January, but China has not confirmed that timing.

Top White House adviser Larry Kudlow on Monday said the deal had been “absolutely completed”, while Chinese officials have been cautious, emphasising that it has not been completely settled.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 0.1% to $6,205 a tonne at 0724 GMT, after falling for most of the Asian trading hours. The contract hit a seven-month high on Friday, when Lighthizer announced the deal, and posted a 1.1% gain in the previous session.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) rose 0.6% to 49,260 yuan ($6,998.25) a tonne.

“Market is waiting for details of the ‘Phase One’ trade deal ... to be able to figure out the impact on the economy,” said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities, adding LME copper might test the $6,300 price level next year.

“It’s a little bit profit-taking, but this does not change the overall trend for copper. We see lots of signs of recovery in China’s domestic economy... and the Chinese government said 2020 fiscal support will be more effective,” she said.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHINA ECONOMY: China said it was confident to achieve its full-year economic targets but would not resort to massive economic stimulus, a day after it published better-than expected November industrial and retail data.

* COPPER: The discount of LME cash copper over the three-month contract CMCU0-3 tightened to $6 a tonne, a level unseen in seven and a half months, suggesting nearby supplies are tightening. Inventories in warehouses approved by the LME dropped to 167,475 tonnes, their lowest since April 1.

* OTHER PRICES: LME nickel rose 0.3% to $14,240 a tonne, lead advanced 0.6% to $1,898 a tonne, while ShFE aluminium rose 0.7% to 14,015 yuan a tonne and nickel rallied 0.2% to 111,280 yuan a tonne.

* LEAD: ShFE lead dropped to as low as 14,910 yuan a tonne, its lowest since April 2018, as stocks in warehouses tracked by ShFE PB-STX-SGH rose to their highest since August 2017 of 45,926 tonnes.

* NEVADA COPPER: Nevada Copper Corp said on Monday it had started production at its Pumpkin Hollow mine in the western United States, one of the first new mining projects to open in the country in decades.

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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 = 7.0389 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich)

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