METALS-Copper rises as Chile unrest raises supply concerns

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SINGAPORE, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Copper prices hovered around a one-month high on Tuesday as protests in top producer Chile intensified, raising concerns about supply shortages.

Thousands of Chileans protested in Santiago against high living costs, prompting President Sebastian Pinera to declare that the country was “at war” with vandals.

The union of workers at BHP’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, will hold a day-long strike on Tuesday in a show of solidarity with protests in Chile.

“Copper prices yesterday edged higher after Chile copper miners joined social strikes there. Since the protests that miners joined are a possible social movement, it could last longer than expected,” said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities.

Three-month copper on the London Metal (LME) rose 0.2% to $5,836.50 a tonne by 0704 GMT, hovering around its highest level in a month hit in the previous session, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) ended up 0.1% at 47,120 yuan ($6,662.90) a tonne.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER OUTPUT: Mined copper production worldwide fell by about 1.4% in the first half of 2019, with Chile output declining 2.5% due to lower copper head grades, latest data by the International Copper Study Group showed.

* PRICES: LME aluminium dipped 0.2%, nickel was down 0.2%, zinc was flat, and lead declined 0.1%. ShFE aluminium fell 0.2%, nickel lost 1.4% and zinc eased 0.2%.

* TRADE DEAL: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday efforts to end a trade war with China were going well, while a senior Chinese official said the two countries had achieved some progress in their trade talks.

* LITHIUM: Rio Tinto Plc is studying ways to extract lithium from waste rock at a mine it controls in California, making it the latest company trying to produce the battery metal in the United States for the electric vehicle market.

* ALUMINIUM: Global primary aluminium output fell to 5.163 million tonnes in September from revised 5.329 million tonnes in August, data from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed on Monday.

* SHFE: The chief executive of the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), home to China’s flagship iron ore futures contract, is taking over as general manager of the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE), the Shanghai bourse said on Monday.


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