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Base metals fall as China’s exports slump

Copper prices fell on Monday as unexpectedly soft trade data in top consumer China outweighed record imports of the metal’s concentrates last year.

Copper prices fell on Monday as unexpectedly soft trade data in top consumer China outweighed record imports of the metal’s concentrates last year.

London: Copper prices fell on Monday as unexpectedly soft trade data in top consumer China outweighed record imports of the metal’s concentrates last year.

China’s exports fell by the most in two years in December, while imports also contracted, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy in 2019 and deteriorating global demand.

Meanwhile, China’s 2018 imports of unwrought copper rose 12.9% from a year earlier to a record annual high of 5.3 million tonnes.

“Copper fundamentals are fairly constructive, but prices have been dictated by broader negative sentiment,” said ING commodities strategist Warren Patterson.

“The downward pressure on copper is part of the broader pressure on the commodities complex.”

Copper: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange shed 0.9% to $5,889 a tonne by 1200 GMT, its level lowest in more than a week.

China premium: In a sign of a tighter Chinese market, Chinese Yangshan copper import premiums, at $72.50, have begun to rise after halving late last year.

China aluminium exports: China’s aluminium exports in 2018 rose 20.9% from a year earlier to a record high, with US sanctions on Russian producer Rusal spurring demand for Chinese metal.

Trade talks: Investors are closely watching developments in trade talks between China and the United States. On Friday US officials said they expected China’s top trade negotiator to visit Washington this month.

Aluminium: On-warrant stocks of aluminium available to the market in LME-registered warehouses rose by 9,300 tonnes to 1.1 million tonnes and have jumped 73% since mid-December.

China growth: Sources told Reuters last week that Beijing is planning to lower its economic growth target to 6-6.5% this year after an expected 6.6% in 2018, the slowest pace in 28 years.

Autos: Carmakers in China will face more fierce competition this year after a tough 2018. The world’s biggest auto market contracted last year for the first time in more than two decades, the country’s top auto industry association said on Monday.

Shanghai aluminium: Shanghai aluminium touched its lowest since September 2016 in early trade but recovered slightly to close 0.7% down at 13,285 yuan a tonne.

Other metals: Aluminium edged down 0.2% to $1,833 a tonne, zinc slipped 1.2% to $2,463, tin firmed by 0.1% to $20,325 and nickel was down 0.7% at $11,385. Lead fell for the first session in seven, down 1.5% at $1,973.

First Published: Mon, Jan 14 2019. 06 17 PM IST

Source: livemint