METALS: Tin, aluminium, copper prices down


Copper wires

LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Copper fell on Friday alongside stock markets and oil prices as poor economic data and new coronavirus restrictions in China, the world's biggest raw materials consumer, weakened the outlook for economic growth and demand.

But losses eased after U.S. factory figures showed activity surging to its highest level in nearly 14 years in early January.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.2% at $8,005 a tonne at 1700 GMT, off an earlier low of $7,864.50. The metal reached an eight-year high of $8,238 on Jan. 8.

"We are just hitting the buffers here," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. "Commodities had a phenomenal run, and that just screams correction."

A coronavirus outbreak in China and the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holiday may curb industrial activity. This and slow progress suppressing the virus in Europe and the United States are forcing investors to reassess copper's near-term outlook, he said.

But many analysts, including Hansen, say supply will tighten as the year progresses, pushing prices higher.

OUTBREAK: China reported 103 COVID-19 cases on Friday, with Beijing launching mass testing in some areas and Shanghai testing all hospital staff.

ECONOMY: Economic activity in the euro zone shrank markedly in January, PMI surveys showed.

MANUFACTURING: Japan's factory activity slipped into contraction in January.

MARKETS: Oil prices and Chinese, European and U.S. equities fell. The U.S. dollar steadied after three days of losses.

POSITIONING: Speculators are reducing bets on higher copper prices from multi-year peaks.

COPPER STOCKS: However, copper stocks in warehouses monitored by the LME, Comex and the Shanghai Futures Exchange are dwindling, with ShFE inventories the lowest since 2011.

TIN: Benchmark tin was roughly unchanged at $21,995 a tonne after tightness in the LME system pushed prices to $22,395, the highest since 2014, on Thursday.

STOCKS: Stocks in LME-registered warehouses have plunged to 1,030 tonnes, near record lows, with almost 40% already earmarked for delivery. <0#LMESTX-TOTAL>

SPREAD: The premium for cash tin over the three-month contract surged to a record high of around $553 a tonne on Thursday before easing on Friday to around $420.

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was down 0.1% at $1,996.50 a tonne, zinc rose 0.2% to $2,714, nickel slipped 0.6% to $18,280 and lead was 0.5% higher at $2,050.

- Reuters
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