February 7, 2018 / 10:42 AM / 4 months ago

METALS-Copper slides nearly 3 percent after more market volatility

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

* LME/ShFE arb: bit.ly/2wZSAEz (Updates with closing prices)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Copper fell by almost 3 percent on Wednesday and other base metals turned lower as stock markets resumed this week’s volatile trading while concerns that fundamentals do not justify current price levels also weighed on the red metal.

Copper, chiefly used in construction, has struggled to make headway this year after rallying to a near four-year high late last year on expectations that global growth would drive demand higher.

“Instead of just focusing on the global growth outlook, which is positive, you should keep an eye on what we call China’s old economy - the property market, the infrastructure segment,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said. “That’s where we expect a slowdown sometime this year.”

“China’s property sector consumes more copper than the U.S. alone,” he said.

Lead was the biggest faller as some holders cashed in gains after the metal rallied to a 6-1/2-year high late last week.

“Lead was the outlier last week - everything was steady, but lead was gaining a lot,” Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

“If you are looking to liquidate ahead of Chinese New Year, you will liquidate where you have made a profit, and that would be ... lead.”

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 2.8 percent at $6,880 a tonne, extending Tuesday’s 1.3 percent fall.

* FINANCIAL MARKETS: U.S. stocks opened lower, but later rebounded while European shares also jumped. Investors were still nervous following the biggest intraday fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday.

* ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium shed 0.6 percent to end at $2,158 a tonne after touching $2,152, the weakest since Jan. 9.

* ALUMINIUM SPREAD: The premium for cash aluminium over three-month aluminium CMAL0-3 rose to $2.75 a tonne, its highest since August, from a discount of $12.50 a tonne at the start of the year. Tightness was seen in the spread between the February and March contracts, traders said.

* LEAD PRICES: LME lead tumbled 4.4 percent to close at $2,507 a tonne, the lowest since Jan. 2 and the biggest one-day fall since last April. Just last week, the battery metal hit its highest since July 2011 at $2,885.

* LEAD STOCKS: Stocks of lead held in LME-registered warehouses fell another 1,375 tonnes to their lowest since late 2015, exchange data showed.

* OTHER METALS: Zinc finished 2.2 percent lower at $3,380 a tonne, the lowest since Jan. 18, while nickel dropped 1.6 percent to $13,175. LME tin gave up 0.5 percent to $21,610 a tonne.

Additional reporting by Tom Daly in Beijing and Eric Onstad in London; Editing by Dale Hudson and Catherine Evans

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