LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) – Copper eased along with most other metals in London on Monday after data showed that China’s economy expanded at a slower pace in the second quarter, pointing to weaker demand. Benchmark copper edged down 0.9 percent to $6,181 per tonne by 1130 GMT to near one-year lows. Prices are down about 14 percent in 2018. Economic activity in the world’s top consumer of metals was hobbled by efforts to contain debt, while June factory output growth weakened to a two-year low as a trade war with the United States intensified. Julius Baer commodity analyst Carsten Menke said the Chinese GDP data pointed to overall stability in the economy but revealed some weakness in the “old economy” or infrastructure sector. “These segments account for between 40 and 60 percent of Chinese metals demand and if you have a slowdown in the Chinese old economy this is not good,” he said.
STOCKS: Headline stocks of copper in LME-registered warehouses gained 1,525 tonnes to 257,200 tonnes, but were still at their lowest levels since January.
TARIFFS: China’s commerce ministry said on Monday it had filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding Washington’s proposed tariff list on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on July 16.
INVESTORS: Copper speculators switched to a net short position of 12,919 contracts, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said last week, the weakest position since December 2016.
US ECONOMY: The Federal Reserve on Friday pointed to “solid” U.S. economic growth during the first half of the year and also reiterated that it expected to continue to raise interest rates gradually.
ALUMINIUM: Aluminium added 0.2 percent to $2,036 per tonne, close to its lowest since U.S. sanctions on one of the world’s biggest aluminium producers Rusal on April 6.
ALUMINIUM SUPPLY: China’s aluminium producers are responding to tighter supply conditions by boosting output, data showed. China’s June output rose by 0.8 percent to 2.83 million tonnes, which on daily basis was the highest since June 2017, according to Reuters’ calculations based on official data.
PRICES: Zinc shed 2.8 percent to $2,506 per tonne, lead edged 0.8 percent lower to $2,185, tin fell 1.1 percent to $19,570 and nickel shed 1.4 percent to $13,785.
METAL DEMAND: China’s top steelmaking city, Tangshan, ordered steel mills to shut sintering plants and asked that coke and cement factories curb output for five days due to forecasts of heavy smog over the weekend, denting metal demand.