April 25, 2019 / 10:51 AM / a year ago

METALS-Strong dollar, growth fears push copper to one-month low

(Updates with closing prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Thursday as worries over the global economic outlook increased and the U.S. dollar hit its strongest in almost two years, making metals more expensive for buyers with other currencies.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended down 1.3 percent at $6,364 a tonne after touching its lowest since March 28.

The metal used in power and construction has been stuck below around $6,550 since the end of February but is still up nearly 7 percent this year.

"There's still quite a bit of uncertainty (about economic growth)," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

But he predicted that tight supplies and a likely U.S.-China trade deal would help lift copper to around $6,900 at the end of the year.

LME STOCKS: Copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses rose by 8,675 tonnes to 194,800 tonnes, nearing 7-month highs touched earlier this month. MCUSTX-TOTAL

SPREAD: The discount for cash copper against the three-month contract on the LME, however, shrank to $6.50 from $28 on April 18, suggesting less metal is immediately available. MCU0-3

SHFE STOCKS: Copper stocks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE), at 236,734 tonnes, have dipped in recent weeks but are still much higher than at the start of the year. CU-STX-SGH

DEFICIT: Analysts expect another deficit in the refined copper market this year. There were shortfalls of 387,000 tonnes last year and 265,000 tonnes in 2017, according to the International Copper Study Group.

FREEPORT/ANGLO: Freeport-McMoRan Inc's copper output fell 18 percent to around 340,000 tonnes in the first quarter, while Anglo American's production rose by 4 percent to 161,100 tonnes.

DOLLAR: The U.S. dollar hit its highest since May 2017 against a basket of major currencies, with the U.S. economy seeming stronger than those of other countries.

GERMANY: Data showing German business morale deteriorated in April has underlined fears that growth around the world is slowing.

JAPAN/CENTRAL BANKS: Japan's central bank lowered growth projections for 2020 and joined many other central banks, including Indonesia's and Sweden's on Thursday, in delaying interest rate rises.

CHINA: China, the world's largest consumer of metals, has however seen an improvement in economic data in recent months, a positive sign for metals demand.

ZINC: LME zinc finished flat at $2,741 a tonne. The premium for cash metal over the three-month contract jumped to $124, the highest since December, signalling a shortage of nearby metal. MZN0-3

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium closed down 0.8 percent at $1,857 a tonne, lead rose 0.4 percent to $1,932 and tin gained 0.6 percent to $19,820. Nickel did not trade but was bid 0.7 percent lower at $12,320.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; additional reporting by Tom Daly in Beijing; Editing by Jan Harvey and David Evans

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