London copper prices slipped to their lowest in almost four months on Wednesday, as concerns over potential renewed supply disruptions at MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas mine in Peru were offset by U.S.-China trade tensions.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that an indigenous community had imposed a road blockade at Las Bambas, citing a representative of the public ombudsman office said. An earlier blockade at Las Bambas in March and April disrupted the mine’s copper concentrate exports and boosted prices. Other metals also lost ground in the Asian afternoon session, with Shanghai zinc hitting its lowest since February.
“The trade side of the market is very much in ‘stand aside mood’ with little material being priced and it would seem the speculative side … is going shorter and shorter,” Malcolm Freeman, director of Kingdom Futures, wrote in a note.
* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 0.7% to $5,957 per tonne, its lowest since Jan. 25, and stood at $5,962 as of 0743 GMT. The most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped as much as 1.3% to 47,100 yuan ($6,816.21) a tonne, the lowest since Jan. 28, and closed on 47,160 yuan per tonne ($6,851.65).
* ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium fell 0.5% to $1,787, just above a two-year low. ShFE aluminium slid for a third day, slipping as much as 1% to 14,120 yuan, its lowest since May 10.
* USD: The dollar found support near a 3-1/2-week high, keeping dollar-denominated metal prices under pressure.
* BRAZIL: Albras aluminium smelter in Brazil, partly owned by Norsk Hydro, started to ramp up its output on Tuesday after a Brazilian federal court lifted production restrictions at the Alunorte alumina plant. “This is seen as negative (for prices) as it could lower the input cost for aluminium production,” ANZ said in a note.
* NICKEL: BHP Group on Wednesday said it plans to expand its nickel sulphide operations amid an expected boom in demand for the material in electric vehicle batteries.