September 26, 2019 / 7:27 AM / 6 months ago

METALS-Copper drifts in thin trade ahead of China holiday

 (Adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices)
    BEIJING, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Copper prices drifted lower on
Thursday in thin trade as market participants refrained from
taking big positions ahead of a week-long holiday in top metals
consumer China from Oct. 1.
    Traders also shrugged off U.S. President Donald Trump's
comment that a deal to end the protracted trade war with China
could happen sooner than people think.
    Copper prices are heading for a 3.7% drop in London this
quarter and are down a relatively modest 3.2% so far in 2019.
    "The grimmer mood towards the global and Chinese economies
has yet to translate into much weaker prices, and the essential
neutrality of the balance is no doubt helping," Macquarie said
in a note.
    Even the bank's "more cautious" global demand growth
forecast of 1.5% this year, down from 3.7% in 2018, will equate
to a copper market deficit of about 90,000 tonnes, it added.
    * COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
 slipped 0.2% to $5,774 a tonne by 0702 GMT, after
closing up 0.1% in the previous session. The most-traded
November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange
 closed 0.2% up at 47,120 yuan ($6,612.03) a tonne.
    * SHFE: The ShFE complex was mixed, with lead and
nickel making slight gains while aluminium
closed 0.7% down at a six-week low of 14,040 yuan on weak demand
in China.
    * ALUMINIUM: Stocks of aluminium held at three major
Japanese ports AL-STK-JPPRT at the end of August rose 5.6%
from the previous month to 326,100 tonnes, Marubeni Corp
 said on Thursday.
    * ALUMINA: The fall in aluminium prices came despite the
Chinese city of Luliang imposing a temporary 50% production cut
on alumina refineries, which has sent spot alumina prices in
North China SMM-ALM-NCHN to a 2-1/2-month high. 
    * NICKEL: LME nickel shed 0.5% to $17,240 a tonne,
even as China's refined nickel imports more than doubled year on
year in August and were up 35.3% from the previous month. The
premium of LME cash nickel over the three-month contract
CMNI0-3 was last at $150 a tonne. 
    China's nickel ore imports from Indonesia rose 26.5% year on
year, customs data showed, as stainless steel producers stocked
up on raw materials ahead of a ban on exports from the Southeast
Asian country.
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    * Asian stocks pared gains on Thursday and safe-haven assets
rose on fading optimism over a speedy resolution to the
U.S.-China trade war.    
 BASE METALS PRICES                       0708 GMT
 Three month LME copper                       5778
 Most active ShFE copper                     47100
 Three month LME aluminium                  1747.5
 Most active ShFE aluminium                  14035
 Three month LME zinc                         2283
 Most active ShFE zinc                       18610
 Three month LME lead                       2094.5
 Most active ShFE lead                       16855
 Three month LME nickel                      17240
 Most active ShFE nickel                    136570
 Three month LME tin                         16470
 Most active ShFE tin                       136100
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                            
 LME/SHFE COPPER              LMESHFCUc3    576.99
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM           LMESHFALc3    -90.31
 LME/SHFE ZINC                LMESHFZNc3    -25.28
 LME/SHFE LEAD                LMESHFPBc3   -609.75
 LME/SHFE NICKEL              LMESHFNIc3  -5058.41
 ($1 = 7.1264 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 (Reporting by Tom Daly
Editing by David Goodman)
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