METALS-Copper eases on worries about rising virus cases and global growth

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LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Copper prices fell on Thursday along with other risky assets on worries that rising COVID-19 cases around the world will dampen global growth and metals demand.

Global stocks and oil prices also fell as governments across Europe tightened restrictions to battle accelerating virus infections.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange shed 0.3% to $6,698 a tonne in official trading, having rebounded by about 50% since touching 45-month lows in March.

LME copper hit its highest in more than two years on Sept. 21, and prices have since hovered between $6,300 and $6,900 a tonne.

“For copper, the fundamentals have been quite resilient, primarily due to China’s recovery, and supply has been a bit tighter as well,” said Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International in London.

“But there’s still lots of uncertainty on the macro front, including surrounding the U.S. election and concerns about the rest of the world’s recovery.”

Also pressuring markets was a lack of progress on another U.S. coronavirus relief package before the Nov. 3 election.

* A global nickel market surplus of 117,000 tonnes is forecast for this year, with excess supply narrowing to 68,000 tonnes in 2021, the International Nickel Study Group said.

* Also hitting metals markets was a firmer dollar, which makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

* Aurubis, Europe’s biggest copper smelter, said it would offer its customers unchanged 2021 copper premiums of $96 per tonne above LME prices.

* Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note: “Whilst there was some consolidation in the copper price in late Q3, we view this merely as a pause in what is likely to be a significant sustained trend higher through 2021.”

* LME aluminium fell 0.7% to $1,839.50 a tonne in official activity, zinc lost 0.1% to $2,413.50, lead fell 1.3% to $1,772, nickel added 0.4% to $15,400 and tin edged up 0.3% to $18,360.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Pravin Char)

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