LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Copper and other base metals slipped on Wednesday on fears of slower demand due to renewed U.S.-China trade tensions and worries about slowing growth in top metals consumer China. A source familiar with the matter said Washington plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods after initially setting them at 10 percent, escalating the dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.
Investors also were disappointed after reports that a recent Chinese politburo meeting was less dovish than expected regarding monetary and fiscal easing, said Carsten Menke, commodities analyst at Julius Baer in Zurich. “I think the market is reacting in a sense that it’s not expecting a full-fledged easing in China, but more of a gradual easing and this has reversed some of the hopes that have been priced into copper during this very recent recovery.” Also weighing on sentiment was data showing that China’s manufacturing sector grew at the slowest pace in eight months in July as export orders declined. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange failed to trade in official open outcry activity and was bid down 2.2 percent at $6,160 a tonne. Copper shed 4.9 percent in July, but recently rebounded from a one-year low of $5,988 touched on July 19.
* CHINA DATA: The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50.8 in July from June’s 51.0, matching economists’ forecast and a November 2017 level.
* ESCONDIDA: Investors seemed to brush off news about labour unrest in Chile. The union at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, said that an early, partial vote count on a final contract offer suggests its members will reject the offer and approve a strike.
* CASERONES: The main union at Chile’s Caserones mine has rejected operator Lumina Copper’s final contract offer and workers have approved strike action, the union’s president said.
* RUSAL: Aluminium fell 1.2 percent in official rings to trade at $2,057 a tonne after the U.S. Treasury said it had extended a deadline for investors to divest holdings in Russia’s Rusal, which has been hit by U.S. sanctions, to Oct. 23 from Aug. 5.
* ZINC: LME zinc traded 2.3 percent weaker to $2,566.50 a tonne. The speculative net short position has declined to 22 percent of open interest from a peak of 29 percent on July 17, broker Marex Spectron said in a note.
* PRICES: Nickel was bid down 1.3 percent at $13,850 a tonne in official activity, lead was bid 1.4 percent lower at $2,125 and tin was bid down 1.2 percent at $19,850.