Copper hit a one-week low on Friday as the US dollar recovered and concerns lingered that US tariffs could provoke a trade war, though hopes for strong growth in China kept losses in check.
The US dollar recovered its losses versus a currency basket while Wall Street ticked higher after data showed strong US factory output and improving consumer sentiment, though concerns lingered over turmoil in the US government.
A strong US currency makes US dollar-priced metals costlier for non-US investors.
‘The demand data and forecasts point to stronger demand, especially in China, so the deficit on the (copper) market is likely to continue this year,’ said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank.
‘The question is whether (this deficit) is not already priced in. We think it is. (Also) we expect through the year a somewhat stronger US dollar.’
* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed 0.5 per cent down at $US6,888 a tonne, having hit a one-week low of $US6,852.
* TRADE WAR: Markets were roiled this week after President Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, viewed as a free trade proponent, and then sought to impose $US60 billion of tariffs on Chinese imports.
* OYU TOLGOI: Annual revenue from Mongolia’s giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine fell 22 per cent last year, with construction delays leaving it unable to take full advantage of higher prices.
* CHILE COPPER: Polish copper producer KGHM said it expects daily copper ore output at its Chilean mine Sierra Gorda to increase by 18 per cent next year from current levels.
* CHINESE COPPER OUTPUT: China’s refined copper output in January and February rose by 10.3 per cent year on year to 1.48 million tonnes, data showed on Friday.
* BRAZIL ALUMINA: Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk Hydro has ordered 600 employees at its Brazilian Alunorte alumina refinery to go on temporary holiday to prevent layoffs at the plant.
* ALUMINIUM INVENTORIES: Deliverable Shanghai Futures Exchange aluminium inventories rose by 87,303 tonnes to a record 934,216 tonnes, data showed on Friday.
* CHINA ALUMINA: Chinese alumina refineries in Henan province may delay the restart of their plants because of rising costs for the raw material bauxite amid supply tightness, research firm Antaike said.
* METALS PRICES: Aluminium ended flat at $US2,085, zinc rose 0.8 per cent to $US3,260, lead closed 1.2 per cent down at $US2,383, tin dropped 0.1 per cent to $US21,000 and nickel finished down 0.1 per cent at $US13,625.