August 26, 2015 / 10:42 AM / 4 years ago

METALS-Copper resumes decline as China-led demand concerns persist

* Copper jumped more than 2 pct on Tuesday

* Other metals also weaker, zinc hits five-year low (Adds closing prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Copper slid on Wednesday, wiping out the previous session’s gains on concerns that fresh rate cuts in China might not be enough to stabilise its slowing economy and end a collapse in Chinese stocks.

China stocks fell again overnight despite the central bank’s rate cuts. Wall Street, by contrast, opened higher and European equities staged a fightback even as Chinese jitters persisted.

But with China responsible for consumption of nearly half the world’s copper, the metal remained firmly in negative territory.

Three-month LME copper closed 2.6 percent down at $4,935 a tonne, having hit a six-year low of $4,855 on Monday. The metal has lost 22 percent of its value this year.

“When investor sentiment is as poor as it is, prices can always go lower; but the reaction is overdone. (Copper) premiums in China have surged. Couple that with imports, with copper products output, none of it is looking like we should be panicking,” Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain said.

Expectations that a weaker yuan would increase the cost of Chinese imports of refined copper have supported domestic prices in the world’s biggest metals consumer.

Meanwhile cash LME copper is trading near its highest premium against the benchmark price CMCU0-3 since February, indicating physical supply is not that easy to come by.

In the United States, a gauge of U.S. business investment plans posted its largest increase in just over a year in July.

The dollar gained on the data and the U.S. stocks recovery, making dollar-priced metals more costly for non-U.S. metals investors and adding to their concerns over China.

“This will be a diminishing-return game, akin to pushing on a string. (China’s) economy does not need more credit or easier money - it is suffering from excess capacity and sub-par consumer demand, with the only driver in terms of spending being the government,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.

Zinc closed 2.2 percent down at $1,700.50, having hit its lowest since 2010 at $1,686. Data showed LME stocks MZN-STOCKS at their highest since March, having risen for most of August.

“It appears material that was booked to leave New Orleans is being put back on warrant,” one trader said.

Aluminium ended down 1.7 percent at $1,531, having also clocked six-year lows on Monday.

Century Aluminum Co will idle its smelter in Hawesville, Kentucky. It is the first aluminum plant to shut in years, with producers feeling the effects of sinking prices and increased Chinese exports.

Tin closed 2.1 percent down at $13,945 after touching $13,670, its lowest since early August. Lead was down 1.9 percent at $1,648 and nickel ended with a 1.4 percent decline at $9,570.

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 ($1 = 6.4152 Chinese yuan) (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)

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