Jan 27 (Reuters) - London copper prices on Monday dropped to their lowest in nearly eight weeks as concerns over the economic impact of a new coronavirus grew after the death toll in China jumped to 80. On the London Metal Exchange , prices of three-month copper, widely used as a gauge of economic health, were down as much as 1.9% at $5,812 a tonne, their lowest since Dec. 4, 2019. Last week, the contract posted its steepest weekly loss in five years, down 5.5%. China said the total number of confirmed cases in the country had risen about 30% to 2,744, while the death toll grew to 80 by Monday from a previous 56 reported in the weekend. The Chinese government, as a result, said it would extend the week-long Lunar New Year holiday by three days to Feb. 2 in a bid to slow the virus spreading. "The market is reacting to more risk-off news over weekend. Fingers crossed we will get good earning reports this week from U.S. companies or else the panic selling will be even worse," said a base metals trader. "The additional holiday is another (period) of economic activity shaved off this year's gross domestic product. Until the ... holidays are over, metal prices will just track the virus news and supportive measures," the trader said. Market participants kept a wary eye on developments around the virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) last week deemed "an emergency in China," amid mounting worries the outbreak could severely disrupt the Chinese economy, an engine of global growth. FUNDAMENTALS * PRICES: LME zinc fell as much as 2.2% to a three-week low at $2,290 a tonne, aluminium declined 0.5% to $1,772.50 a tonne, nickel decreased 0.9% to $12,830 a tonne, lead lost 0.7% to $1,927 a tonne and tin was down 0.9% to $16,700 a tonne. * CHINA: China's banking and insurance regulator said it is to encourage banks to appropriately lower lending rates for sectors that are heavily affected by the coronavirus outbreak. * U.S. TARIFFS: U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation increasing tariffs on derivative steel products by an additional 25 percent and boosting duties on derivative aluminum products by an additional 10 percent. * CODELCO: Chile state miner Codelco filed with regulators on Friday a plan to begin exploration for lithium in its Maricunga salt flat holdings, the country's second-richest deposit of the metal needed for batteries. * For the top stories in metals and other news, click or MARKETS NEWS * Global stocks tumbled as investors grew increasingly anxious about the economic impact of China's spreading virus outbreak, with demand spiking for safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and Treasury notes. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0900 Germany Ifo Business Climate New Jan 0900 Germany Ifo Curr Conditions New Jan 0900 Germany Ifo Expectations New Jan 1500 US New Home Sales-Units Dec 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 Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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