Reuters - Financials

METALS-Copper near 2-week low as strong dollar, rising stocks weigh

* Dollar jumps to 3-month high on rate rise expectations

* LME copper stocks up some 90 percent since January (Adds official midday prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) – Copper hit its lowest in nearly two weeks on Monday, weighed down by a strong dollar, multi-year lows in gold and growing inventories, although upbeat data in China and steadier stock markets there limited losses.

The dollar jumped to three-month highs as expectations of a U.S. rate rise gathered pace and gold plunged to a more than five-year low, hurt by dollar strength and as sellers in China offloaded the metal.

A strong dollar makes dollar-priced metal costly for non-U.S. investors.

“Over the summer, corporate activity goes into abeyance which means the market will tend to follow more fund-related macro queues. If it’s focusing on the dollar, that suggests prices are going to struggle,” said Citi analyst David Wilson.

“I still think fundamentally copper is not actually looking too bad but macro issues are driving everything short term.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was last bid down 0.6 percent in official midday rings at $ 5,445 a tonne.

It earlier touched $ 5,429, its lowest since July 8, when prices hit a six-year low of $ 5,240 a tonne.

Weighing on the metal, LME inventories are at 339,775 tonnes, up about 90 percent from levels seen in January. Shanghai Futures Exchange inventories have fallen for the last two weeks. MCU-STOCKS CU-STX-SGH

On the upside, Chinese June home prices rose for a second month in a row, while Chinese equities ended higher on Monday after the country’s securities regulator reaffirmed its support for the market.

“Some improvement in Chinese metals and mining demand can be expected in the coming months, from a low level, on the back of recent policy easing. However, anything less than a substantial pick-up is unlikely to be sufficient to balance metals markets such as copper,” said Goldman Sachs in a note.

Tin was last bid down 2.1 percent in rings at $ 15,450 a tonne, after hitting its highest since late May at $ 15,800.

Cash tin prices traded at a premium of $ 60 a tonne to the three-month price, their highest since May 2014, though Citi’s Wilson said the apparent lack of nearby supply looked somewhat artificial.

Aluminium traded down 1.4 percent in rings at $ 1,682.50 a tonne.

Weighing on the metal, aluminium output in top producer China surged to a new record high in June, industry data showed.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (HKEx) <0388.HK) has settled two class-action lawsuits against itself and the LME over allegations of anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviour in aluminium markets.

Zinc was last bid down 1.3 percent at $ 2,040 a tonne, lead was last bid down 1.6 percent at $ 1,815 while nickel traded flat at $ 11,500 a tonne.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

($ 1 = 6.2096 Chinese yuan) (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)


Reuters: Financials

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