March 19, 2020 / 2:53 AM / 9 days ago

METALS-Copper plunges to 45-mth-low on LME, hits limit down in Shanghai as selloff resumes

    BEIJING, March 19 (Reuters) - Copper prices crashed 6% to a
45-month low under $4,500 a tonne in London and hit the 9% limit
down in Shanghai on Thursday as investors sold base metals
across the board on expectations the spreading coronavirus will
destroy demand.
    London Metal Exchange three-month copper has dropped around
18% so far this week and is on course for its worst week since
October 2008 when the global financial crisis was unfolding.
    * COPPER: Three-month copper on the LME fell as much
as 6% to $4,462 a tonne, the lowest since June 14, 2016 and
stood at $4,496.50 a tonne as of 0238 GMT. The contract closed
down a steep 7.8% on Wednesday.  
    * SHFE: The front-month April copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange hit the 9% limit down shortly
after the start of trading and at 37,520 yuan ($5,312.79) a
tonne is at its lowest since October 2016. 
    * INVENTORIES: Copper stocks MCUSTX-TOTAL in LME-approved
warehouses have climbed nearly 30% over the past few days to
233,150 tonnes.
    * CODELCO: Chilean copper miner Codelco said on Wednesday it
would reduce its operations to comply with a state of
catastrophe announced by the government in a bid to curb the
spread of coronavirus.
    * KGHM: Polish state-run firm KGHM, which is one of
the world's biggest copper and silver producers, sees no impact
from coronavirus on its output and sales at the moment, but will
consider asking the state for support if needed, its CEO said.

    * TECK: Teck Resources, said on
Wednesday it is temporarily suspending construction activities
at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project in Chile to
ensure employee safety and limit the spread of coronavirus.

    * OTHER METALS: A broad selloff saw LME aluminium,
zinc both fall more than 4% to their lowest since 2016,
while tin shed 4.2% to $13,000 a tonne, its lowest since
July 2009. Lead lost as much as 4.5% and nickel
slipped 2.1% to its lowest since January 2019.    
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    * Asian stocks struggled to find their footing in volatile
trade, as the latest promise of stimulus from the European
Central Bank propped up sentiment while the world struggles to
contain the coronavirus pandemic.    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)    
1230   US          Initial Jobless Claims    Weekly
1230   US          Philly Fed Business Indx  March    
 BASE METALS PRICES                    0238 GMT
 Three month LME copper                  4491.5
 Three month LME aluminium                 1597
 Three month LME zinc                      1773
 Three month LME lead                    1604.5
 Three month LME nickel                   11195
 Three month LME tin                      13000
    ($1 = 7.0622 yuan)

 (Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin)
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