July 31, 2019 / 5:04 AM / 20 days ago

METALS-London copper steady ahead of expected Fed interest rate cut

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, July 31 (Reuters) - London copper was steady on Wednesday ahead of an expected interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, but was on track to fall this month amid slowing growth from top consumer China.

The Fed is expected to lower interest rates on Wednesday for the first time in over a decade, which should support commodities prices by boosting growth and weakening the U.S. dollar, making metals cheaper for buyers with other currencies.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was almost unchanged at $5,950 a tonne by 0705 GMT, but is still heading for a monthly fall as the year-long U.S.-China trade war weighed on global growth and metal demand.

FUNDAMENTALS

* TRADE TALKS: China's foreign ministry said that the United States was to blame for flip-flopping in bilateral trade negotiations over the past year, after comments from U.S. President Donald Trump warning Beijing against stalling talks.

* TRUMP: Trump on Tuesday cautioned China against waiting out his first term to finalise any trade deal, saying if he wins re-election in the November 2020 U.S. presidential contest, the outcome will be worse for China.

* CHINA ECONOMY: China will step up efforts to boost demand and support the economy, but will not use the property market as a form of short-term stimulus, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday.

* CHINA PMI: China's factory activity shrank for the third straight month in July amid the trade war, with the official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) at 49.7 in July, slightly improving from June's 49.4 in June and higher than analysts' expectation.

* "This shows that stimulus measures announced previously are having some positive impact on the manufacturing sector," said Analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities.

* FORECASTS: Analysts have marked down this year's forecasts for copper and other industrial metals prices in recent months as top consumer China struggles to revive its economy, a Reuters poll showed.

* LEAD: About 18,000 tonnes of lead are expected to be off the market as Korea Zinc is carrying out maintenance at a lead refinery until late August, but the company had secured inventories ahead of the maintenance, a spokesman said.

* GLENCORE COPPER: Miner and trader Glencore said its African copper business had failed to meet expected operational performance, and its first-half copper output was around 5% lower than last year, although cobalt was 28% higher.

* PRICES: LME aluminium rose 0.2%, nickel fell 0.4%, zinc and lead dropped 0.8% each, while tin decreased 0.5%.

* SHANGHAI: The most active copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.1%, aluminium dipped 0.1%, nickel rose 0.3%, zinc dropped 1.2%, lead fell 1.3% and tin decreased 0.4%.

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

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

ARBS (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Richard Pullin & Uttaresh.V)

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