April 28, 2020 / 5:33 AM / 4 months ago

METALS-Copper falls as virus-led demand worries outweigh output cuts

(Recasts, updates prices, adds details)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, April 28 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Tuesday as worries about a deterioration in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic outweighed production cuts announced by major miners following lockdowns and weak market conditions.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.3% to $5,183 a tonne by 0713 GMT, while the most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) fell 0.6% to 42,300 yuan ($5,971.03) a tonne.

"The supply issue is quite severe. You do not have enough copper concentrate and at the same time there is not much supply for scrap copper," said Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities.

However, copper prices are still under pressure amid demand uncertainty, Lau said, noting restrictions lifting outside of China have been gradual and there is a risk of a second wave of lockdowns to contain the virus.

Freeport-McMoRan's El Abra copper mine in Chile said on Monday it would scale back copper processing by 40% and lay off workers as global prices for the red metal plunge, the latest cut among many.

Copper is often used as a gauge of global economic health.


* CHINA SCRAP: China in March imported 90,252 tonnes of copper scrap, down 11% year-on-year, customs data showed.

* ICBC: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) on Monday suspended access for new investors to retail products linked to copper, citing extreme market volatility.

* Argonaut's Lau said the move should not impact the liquidity of the metals market due to the scale and speculative nature of retail investors.

* NICKEL: The Philippines' top two nickel miners said they expect to gradually resume mining and shipping operations in the country's main ore-producing region starting on May 1, following shutdowns to contain the virus.

* OTHER PRICES: ShFE nickel fell 1.7% to 100,590 yuan a tonne, tin dropped 2.1% to 129,850 yuan a tonne, zinc eased 0.03% to 16,125 yuan a tonne, while aluminium advanced 0.9% to 12,485 yuan a tonne.

* LME PRICES: London aluminium dipped 0.03% to $1,506.50 a tonne, nickel fell 0.4% to $12,200 a tonne, zinc edged up 0.4% to $1,912 a tonne and lead rose 0.2% to $1,638 a tonne.

* ANTAMINA: Peruvian copper mine Antamina, owned by global miners BHP, and Glencore, on Monday reported 210 cases infected with the virus.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

$1 = 7.0842 Chinese yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Uttaresh.V

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