METALS-Copper nears 8-week low as China virus death toll touches 80

    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.                          
    * 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       
    * 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.                
    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     
    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                             

 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)