December 17, 2019 / 3:18 AM / 3 months ago

METALS-London copper eases amid differing views on U.S.-China trade deal

SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - London copper prices dipped on Tuesday as investors waited for more clarity on the interim Sino-U.S. trade deal announced last week amid differing views from both sides.

The deal will be signed in early January, U.S. trade negotiators say. But important differences between what U.S. and Chinese officials say has been agreed upon have arisen in recent days, including about timing.

Top White House adviser Larry Kudlow on Monday said the deal had been "absolutely completed" and U.S. exports to China would double under the agreement.

However, Chinese officials have been more wary in their wordings about the content of the deal and did not confirm the January timing.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.3% to $6,182.50 a tonne by 0223 GMT, after a 1.1% gain in the previous session. It hit a seven-month high on Friday, when U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the deal.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) rose 0.4% to 49,160 yuan ($6,984.05) a tonne, reflecting gains in London overnight.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER SPREAD: The discount of LME cash copper over the three-month contract CMCU0-3 has tightened to $6 a tonne, a level unseen in seven and a half months, suggesting nearby supplies are tightening.

* COPPER STOCKS: Copper inventories in warehouses approved by the LME dropped to 167,475 tonnes, their lowest since April 1, while stocks in warehouses tracked by ShFE of 117,245 tonnes are still some 55% below the 2019 peak hit in March.

* OTHER PRICES: LME nickel rose 0.2% to $14,225 a tonne, zinc eased 0.1% to $2,288.50 a tonne, lead advanced 0.3% to $1,894 a tonne, while ShFE aluminium rose 0.5% to 13,990 yuan a tonne and zinc dipped 0.1% to 18,060 yuan a tonne.

* ZINC SPREAD: The spread between LME cash and three-month zinc contracts CMZN0-3 flipped to a premium of $10.5 a tonne after staying in discount for four sessions, suggesting nearby supplies are tightening.

* NEVADA COPPER: Nevada Copper Corp said on Monday it had started production at its Pumpkin Hollow mine in the western United States, one of the first new mining projects to open in the country in decades.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares gained, but a lack of detail about the Sino-U.S. trade deal tempered some of the exuberance that sent Wall Street to record highs overnight, while familiar fears of a hard Brexit knocked the pound.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0930 UK Claimant Count Unem Chng Nov

0930 UK ILO Unemployment Rate Oct

1330 US Housing Starts Number Nov

1415 US Industrial Production MM Nov

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 ($1 = 7.0389 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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