September 14, 2018 / 5:57 AM / 2 months ago

METALS-London copper holds near two-week peak, trade talks in focus

(Updates prices)

By Manolo Serapio Jr

MANILA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - London copper steadied near a two-week high on Friday following some upbeat data in top metals consumer China and ahead of possible talks to try to resolve the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war.

China will not buckle to U.S. demands in any trade negotiations, the major state-run China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Friday, after Chinese officials welcomed an invitation from Washington for a new round of talks.

China reported better-than-expected industrial output and retail sales on Friday, although a key investment gauge fell to a record-low.

“Largely speaking, I don’t see any major impact yet on the economy from China’s trade dispute with the United States,” said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau.

“And any progress in (possible) trade talks will be very supportive for copper prices,” said Lau.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was off 0.3 percent at $6,016 a tonne by 0748 GMT. The industrial metal has gained 1.4 percent so far this week, having hit a two-week high of $6,074 on Thursday.

The most-traded November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.4 percent to end at 48,420 yuan ($7,072) a tonne, tracking gains overnight on the LME.

* TRADE TALKS: The official China Daily said that while China was “serious” about resolving the stand-off through talks, it would not be rolled over, despite concerns over a slowing economy and a falling stock market at home.

* CHINA ALUMINIUM: China’s aluminium producers cut output by 3 percent to 2.84 million tonnes in August from the month before as high raw material costs squeeze their profit margins.

* CHINA STEEL: China’s steel output eased 1.1 percent to 80.33 million tonnes in August after hitting a record-high in July, reflecting tough production restrictions in major steelmaking regions as part of efforts to clear the country’s smoggy skies.

* WINTER CURBS: Steel mills in Tangshan, China’s top steelmaking city, are rushing to install equipment to meet new ‘ultra-low’ emissions targets by an Oct. 31 deadline, as the measures to battle pollution threaten more upheaval in the debt-laden sector.

* OTHER METALS: LME aluminium slipped 0.4 percent to $2,056 a tonne and zinc was steady at $2,359. In Shanghai, aluminium closed up 0.4 percent at 14,585 yuan a tonne and zinc added 0.4 percent to 20,735 yuan.

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 = 6.8467 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford

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