August 1, 2018 / 10:46 AM / 10 months ago

METALS-Copper slides on new trade tensions, worries on China growth

(Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Copper and other base metals slipped on Wednesday on fears of slower demand due to renewed U.S.-China trade tensions and worries about slowing growth in top metals consumer China.

Washington plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods after initially setting them at 10 percent, according to a source familiar with the matter, escalating the dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.

Investors also were disappointed after reports that a recent Chinese politburo meeting was less dovish than expected regarding monetary and fiscal easing, said Carsten Menke, commodities analyst at Julius Baer in Zurich.

“I think the market is reacting in a sense that it’s not expecting a full-fledged easing in China, but more of a gradual easing and this has reversed some of the hopes that have been priced into copper during this very recent recovery.”

Also weighing on sentiment was data showing that China’s manufacturing sector grew at the slowest pace in eight months in July as export orders declined.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 2 percent at $6,172 a tonne. Copper shed 4.9 percent in July, but recently rebounded from a one-year low of $5,988 touched on July 19.

* MANUFACTURING DATA: Factory growth stuttered across the world in July, heightening concerns about the global economic outlook as an intensifying trade conflict between the United States and China sent shudders through trading partners.

* ESCONDIDA: Investors seemed to brush off news about labour unrest in Chile. The union at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, said that an early, partial vote count on a final contract offer suggests its members will reject the offer and approve a strike.

* RUSAL: Aluminium fell 1.4 percent to end at $2,052 a tonne after the U.S. Treasury said it had extended a deadline for investors to divest holdings in Russia’s Rusal, which has been hit by U.S. sanctions, to Oct. 23 from Aug. 5.

* ZINC: LME zinc lost 2.7 percent to finish at $2,555 a tonne. The speculative net short position has declined to 22 percent of open interest from a peak of 29 percent on July 17, broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

* ZINC SPREAD: The premium of cash zinc over the three-month contract CMZN0-3 rose to $64 a tonne, the highest since October last year, usually indicating tightness in nearby supplies. LME data shows that one player is holding a dominant position of over half of available inventories <0#LME-WHL>.

* PRICES: Nickel slid 3.1 percent to close at $13,590 a tonne, lead declined 1.3 percent to $2,126 and tin shed 1.3 percent to $19,825.

Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila; editing by David Evans, Alexandra Hudson and Jane Merriman

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