March 13, 2020 / 2:32 AM / 5 months ago

METALS-Shanghai nickel drops to 8-month low as virus panic grips markets

SINGAPORE, March 13 (Reuters) - Industrial metals fell on Friday, with Shanghai nickel hitting an eight-month low, as the fast-spreading coronavirus deepened worries about a global recession and spread turmoil across financial markets.

The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) fell as much as 4.2% to 95,790 yuan ($13,651.52) a tonne, its lowest since July 2019.

Benchmark three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was on track for its steepest weekly decline since March 2017. The contract was down 0.1% to $11,815 a tonne by 0213 GMT.

Asia's stock markets crashed as panic gripping world financial markets deepened, and even safe-haven assets such as gold and bonds were ditched to cover losses in the wipeout.

Policy makers and governments around the world have taken a range of measures to deal with the economic fallout from the virus that has infected more than 127,000 people globally.

FUNDAMENTALS

* PRICES: LME copper fell 1.8% to $5,341 a tonne, tin dropped 3.4% to $15,560 a tonne, lead declined 1.3% to $1,749.50 a tonne while ShFE copper decreased 1.3% to 42,600 yuan a tonne and ShFE tin tumbled 4.7% to 127,470 yuan a tonne.

* CHILE COPPER: Copper miners in top producer Chile are implementing measures to contain an eventual spread of the coronavirus, its mining minister said.

* COPPER SMELTING: Copper smelting declined during February in China and Europe as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, according to an index based on satellite surveillance of copper plants.

* CHINA AUTOS: Automakers in China are calling on the government to help after industry-wide sales plunged 79% in February to mark their biggest ever monthly decline, with demand pummelled by the coronavirus outbreak.

* APPLE: Apple Inc is reopening all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday, a company spokesman said, more than a month after they were shut in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

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

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0700 Germany HICP Final YY Feb

0745 France CPI (EU Norm) Final MM, YY Feb

1400 US U Mich Sentiment Prelim March

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

$1 = 7.0168 Chinese yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Aditya Soni

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