METALS-Copper prices hit 7-week low as traders brace for China curbs

(Updates prices, adds details and quotes)

HANOI, June 15 (Reuters) – Copper prices fell on Tuesday to their lowest in more than seven weeks, as traders feared measures that the authorities in China, the biggest consumer of the red metal, would take to curb a recent price rally in commodities.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 2.9% to $9,680 a tonne, before edging up to trade at $9,750 a tonne, still down 2.2%, as of 0535 GMT.

The most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.4% to 70,150 yuan ($10,954.43) a tonne, having hit its lowest since April 23 at 69,500 yuan a tonne earlier in the session.

China’s state planner last week renewed its pledge to step up monitoring of commodity prices, as domestic producer inflation hit its highest in more than 12 years.

Both copper contracts hit their record highs in May.

Markets expected China to release state reserves of copper, aluminium and zinc while also possibly trim long positions and crackdown price speculative activities.

“Markets have taken this rumour, so prices collapsed,” said a copper producer.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN was last at $22 a tonne, hovering around its lowest since February 2016 and down 80% since May last year, indicating weak demand for imported metal into China.

* One party controls 50-80% of available lead stocks and short-term futures, LME data showed. <0#LME-WHT>

* A union representing striking workers from Vale SA’s Sudbury, Canada, nickel mine recommended that its members reject the Brazilian company’s latest offer.

* LME aluminium fell 0.8% to $2,473 a tonne, nickel declined 2.8% to $17,970 a tonne and tin shed 2% at $31,030 a tonne.

* ShFE aluminium rose 0.7% to 18,960 yuan a tonne, nickel lost 0.9% to 132,350 yuan a tonne and tin dropped 1.9% to 205,890 yuan a tonne.

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