November 24, 2017 / 12:04 PM / 3 years ago

METALS-Copper tops $7,000, helped by weaker dollar and shrinking supply

* LME/ShFE arb: (Adds closing prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The price of copper climbed above $7,000 a tonne and towards a one-month high on Friday, helped by a weaker dollar and shrinking supplies, though concerns over demand from top consumer China capped gains.

The U.S. dollar was at its lowest level since late September against a currency basket, still under pressure after the minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting highlighted concern among some board members over persistently low inflation.

A weak U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals cheaper for non-U.S. investors.

Concern over China, which consumes nearly half the world’s copper, centred on fresh economic data this week and Thursday’s heavy equities sell-off, though its stock markets steadied on Friday.

Data this week showed China’s economy cooled in October, with industrial output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales missing expectations as the government extended a crackdown on debt risks and factory pollution.

Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank, says that risk-on sentiment has been a feature of the copper market for quite some time, but he expects a price correction before too long.

“We think prices are likely to correct from current levels because there are signs of slowing demand growth in China and most of the positive news seems to be reflected in the price.”

* COPPER PRICE: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 0.6 percent at $7,002 a tonne, having touched $7,015, its highest since Nov. 1.

* COPPER STOCKS: Inventories in LME-registered warehouses continued to decline, falling by 5,475 tonnes to 213,600 tonnes. Stocks have fallen 30 percent since mid-September. MCU-STOCKS

* CHILE: Workers at BHP Billiton’s Escondida copper mine in Chile ended a 24-hour strike on Friday but could down tools again next week over the company’s planned layoffs, their union said.

* STEEL: Chinese steel prices rose 4 percent this week, supporting prices of steelmaking ingredients nickel and zinc, with strong profit margins encouraging mills to boost output despite official restrictions on sintering to cut pollution this winter.

* CHINA: China will check local governments’ investment in railway projects, the state planner said on Friday, amid official concerns that breakneck infrastructure spending is racking up too much debt.

* METALS PRICES: Aluminium ended up 0.9 percent at $2,132 a tonne, zinc closed down 0.1 percent at $3,233, lead closed up 1.1 percent at $2,480, tin ended up 0.5 percent at $19,510 and nickel ended up 0.9 percent at $12,035.

Additional reporting by James Regan; Editing by David Goodman, Greg Mahlich

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