Copper hits 5-week high on hopes for end to U.S.-China trade dispute

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

* First copper resistance at $6,070/T (Adds comment, closing prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Copper prices hit five-week highs on Wednesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said a U.S.-China trade deal was 90% complete, but gains were capped by concern about demand in top consumer China.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 0.9% at $5,988 a tonne. Prices of the metal used widely in the power and construction industries earlier touched $6,063.50, the highest since May 21.

"There is a lot of volatility, copper is being led by the macro environment, the U.S.-China trade war and its potential impact," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Kash Kamal.

"Macro headwinds are very real, the environment is very uncertain and investors are watching key indicators of demand such as industrial production in China."

TRADE: U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet this week at the G20 summit in Japan hoping to calm their 11-month trade war.

"With this week’s G20 and Citi’s view of at least a truce/handshake, along with expectations of new stimuli from China’s Politburo meeting next month, we are bullish copper," Citi analysts said in a note.

CHINA: Earlier this month, China's economy flashed warning signs as industrial output growth in May unexpectedly slowed to a more than 17-year low and investment cooled. Demand for base metals is highly correlated with industrial output.

China accounts for nearly half of global consumption of industrial metals, while the United States consumes nearly 10%.

STIMULUS: China will roll out more measures to cut financing costs for smaller companies, state television reported on Wednesday, citing the cabinet, amid expectations of additional stimulus by Beijing to boost growth.

DOLLAR: A firmer U.S. currency making dollar-denominated metals more expensive for importers in other currencies was also weighing on prices. This is a relationship used by funds to generate buy and sell signals using numerical models.

CHILE: Labour unions at Chile's Chuquicamata copper mine voted on Saturday to reject the latest contract offer of government-controlled mining company Codelco, and to continue the week-long strike at the site.

"A prolonged strike would be bullish for copper, but demand risk is still a concern," analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

TECHNICALS: First upside resistance for copper is at $6,070, a Fibonacci retracement level. This is followed by $6,100, where the 50-day moving average currently sits.

PRICES: Aluminium ended up 0.3% at $1,820, zinc was 1.5% lower at $2,506, lead fell 0.5% at $1,929, tin slipped 1.4% to $18,780 and nickel gained 1.5% to $12,490 a tonne.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Mark Potter and Susan Fenton)

First Published: 2019-06-26 04:00:58
Updated 2019-06-26 18:10:42


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