October 11, 2019 / 10:54 AM / 4 days ago

METALS-Copper touches two-week high on hopes of partial trade deal

* Zinc hits highest in more than two months

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with official prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Copper rose to its highest in more than two weeks on Friday as the market awaited further news on U.S.-Sino trade talks amid optimism that a partial deal can be reached.

Zinc climbed to its strongest in more than two months on worries about shortages after a shutdown of a production facility in Namibia.

A Chinese state newspaper on Friday said that a “partial” trade deal would benefit China and the United States after day one of the first trade talks in more than two months.

“Until we get a definitive outcome, metals prices will drift, but I would expect to see quite a positive response (to any good news). A lot of bad news is priced into the market,” said Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics in London.

“It’s very much half-empty sentiment currently.”

The 15-month trade dispute between the United States and China has slowed global growth and dimmed the demand outlook for base metals.

U.S. President Donald Trump said his plans to meet China’s Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Friday was a good sign.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange gained 0.3% to $5,796.50 a tonne in official open-outcry trading after touching its highest since Sept. 24 at $5,809.50. It had risen 1.7% in the previous session, its strongest advance in nearly four weeks.

* ZINC: LME zinc failed to trade in official rings but was bid up 0.6% at $2,403 a tonne after hitting $2,416, the highest since Aug. 1. It surged more than 4% in the previous session after news of a production shutdown.

* MINE CLOSURE: Vedanta Resources said on Thursday that it would shut its Skorpion zinc operations in Namibia from early November until the end of February 2020 because of technical problems.

* ZINC STOCKS: LME zinc stocks MZNSTX-TOTAL last stood at 62,475 tonnes, having dropped by more than half since the start of 2019. Stocks touched a record low of 50,425 tonnes in April.

* ALUMINIUM STOCKS: LME on-warrant aluminium inventories, those not earmarked for delivery, rose to 797,650 tonnes, the highest since May 15.

LME aluminium, the only metal in the red, slid 1.5% to trade at $1,726 a tonne in official activity.

“We see little upside for aluminium. Even though production is quite weak, there’s still more than enough aluminium around to meet demand,” Bain said.

Capital Economics expects aluminium to end the year at $1,650.

* PRICES: LME nickel rose 0.4% to $17,690 a tonne in official trading, lead was bid up 0.9% at $2,178 and tin added 0.5% to trade at $16,525.

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Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila, editing by Deepa Babington and David Goodman

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