MELBOURNE, March 29 (Reuters) - London copper edged up on
Thursday but has dropped nearly eight percent in the first
quarter, reflecting complex wide losses on fears that an
escalating trade spat could slow the demand for metals.
    Concerns that worsening trade relations between China and
the United States could spill across into other countries have
fuelled worries about a slowdown in China, which is already
seeing inventories build, said analyst Helen Lau at broker
Argonaut in Hong Kong. 
    "Overall the inventory after China's new year did not come
down as much as the industry expected," she said. 
    "China's economic slowdown and the escalating trade war
concerns... All of this is pointing towards headwinds for
commodity demand."
    * LME: London Metal Exchange copper was up 0.4
percent at $6699 a tonne by 0253 GMT, having stabilised in the
previous session. Prices this week fell to their weakest since
early December at $6,532 a tonne and are staring at an 8 percent
loss for the first quarter after double-digit growth for the
past two years. 
    * SHFE: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper climbed
0.7 percent to 49,830 yuan ($7,911.78) a tonne, having plumbed
this week to its weakest since July.
    * TARIFFS: U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs on Chinese
goods may not be imposed until early June, administration
officials said on Wednesday, with public consultations and
potential tariff revisions buying time for negotiations to
forestall them.
    * TARIFFS: China is still considering import curbs on U.S.
soybeans in retaliation for moves by Washington to impose trade
tariffs, director at the U.S. Soybean Export Council Asia Paul
Burke said.
    * TRADE: China could target a broad range of U.S. businesses
from agriculture to aircraft, autos, semiconductors and even
services if the trade conflict with the United States escalates,
the China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday. 

    * COPPER: Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd, one
of China's biggest copper smelters, said on Wednesday its 2017
net profit more than doubled, growing at the fastest pace in
seven years, mainly due to higher copper prices.
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    *  Asian stocks edged up and the safe haven yen was broadly
lower against the dollar on Thursday amid perceived progress on
North Korea issues, although equity gains were limited after a
tech-led retreat on Wall Street.
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