SINGAPORE, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Copper prices edged higher on Tuesday as the euro gained versus the dollar amid easing concerns about Italian debt, even as most investors remained cautious about any further escalation in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.7 percent at $5,951 a tonne, as of 0808 GMT, after falling to as low as $5,879 earlier in the session. The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 0.5 percent higher at 47,910 yuan ($6,983) a tonne. “The markets remain choppy and uncertain with seemingly no discernable trading pattern between one session and the next,” Matt France, head of institutional sales for metals in Asia at Marex Spectron, said in a note.
CHINA RESPONSE: China will respond if the United States takes any new steps on trade, the foreign ministry said on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump warned he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States.
SURPLUS: China’s trade surplus with the United States widened to a record in August even as its export growth slowed slightly, an outcome that could push Trump to turn up the heat on Beijing.
TARIFFS: “The chances of President Trump reacting (to surplus) were a 100 percent, and in an interview on Airforce One he raised the prospect of triggering the additional $200 billion of tariffs with a further $267 billion in waiting,” Malcolm Freeman, director of Kingdom Futures, wrote in a note.
IMPACT: Wood Mackenzie estimates the expansion of the tariff list could raise the impact to around 1 percent of total Chinese copper demand, as many copper intensive goods are included in the extended list.
OTHER METALS: LME zinc slipped 0.8 percent to $2,361 a tonne and lead fell 0.8 percent to $2,011. In Shanghai, zinc dropped 0.9 percent to 21,040 yuan a tonne and lead slid 1 percent to 18,705 yuan.
DOLLAR: The U.S. dollar dropped against the euro and other major currencies, making dollar-denominated assets cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
CHINA CURBS: China is considering allowing its northern provinces to decide individual output cuts by heavy industry to rein in emissions during the winter, ditching an earlier plan for blanket cuts, a source said. Prices of steel and raw material coke slumped on Friday.