February 14, 2020 / 5:34 AM / 2 months ago

METALS-London copper dips on demand concern as virus toll climbs

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange dipped on Friday, with the rising toll from a virus outbreak in China threatening the outlook for demand from the world's top consumer.

Three-month copper on the LME declined 0.1% to $5,784 a tonne by 0709 GMT, while aluminium slipped 0.2% to $1,7423.50 a tonne, nickel fell 1% to $13,150 a tonne and lead fell 0.5% to $1,883 a tonne.

China's coronavirus outbreak showed no signs of peaking with the death toll in China rising by 121 and the total number of cases up by 5,090, health officials said.

China is a major consumer and producer of many base metals.

"If Chinese authorities fail to contain the virus in the coming weeks, any negative effect on Chinese economic growth would negatively impact sentiment," Fitch Solutions said.

However, copper's fundamentals remain tight and improving global macroeconomic data is expected to support sentiment once the current panic selling linked to the virus subsides, it said.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER DEFICIT: Analysts expect the copper market to face a deficit of 160,000 tonnes this year, a Reuters poll showed, while the market showed a 33,000 tonnes deficit in October 2019, latest data by the International Copper Study Group showed.

* SHANGHAI PRICES: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.5% to 45,930 yuan ($6,578.16) a tonne, aluminium fell 0.2% to 13,690 yuan a tonne, nickel edged down 1% to 104,650 yuan a tonne and lead climbed 1.6% to 14,365 yuan a tonne.

* CHINA ECONOMY: The Chinese economy will grow at its slowest rate since the financial crisis in the first quarter, but the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained, a Reuters poll showed.

* LME WEEK: The London Metal Exchange's annual event in Hong Kong could be postponed due to the coronavirus, the exchange said on Thursday.

* FIRST QUANTUM: Canada's First Quantum Minerals Ltd posted a surprise profit, helped by higher sales and production, driven by a ramp up of its Cobre Panama copper mine.

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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 = 6.9822 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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