(Adds dropped word ‘copper’ in headline)
* China’s copper imports drop 8.7 pct to 420,000 T in October
* Specs turn negative on copper - CFTC
* Nyrstar flags zinc conc output cuts if prices stay depressed
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, Nov 9 (Reuters) - London copper lost ground below the $5,000 mark on Monday and was sliding towards six-year lows after China trade data underlined struggling growth in the world’s top metals user.
China’s trade figures disappointed analysts expectations by a wide margin in October, reinforcing views that the world’s second-largest economy will have to do more to stimulate domestic demand given softness in overseas markets.
“Every week we come in, the prices are worse, the data is tepid. The Chinese economy is huge so trying to turn it around is going to take time,” said Daniel Morgan of UBS in Sydney.
“Property construction is still weak but some of the other indicators are a bit better. We have seen some action on the supply side but we need more on the demand side.”
UBS sees copper prices at 2.50 a pound average next year.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped by 0.2 percent to $4,975.50 a tonne by 0713 GMT, after losses in the previous session when it sank to its weakest level since Sept 29 at $4,970 a tonne. Prices are sidling towards six-year lows of $4,855 hit late August.
A trader said there was lots of selling lying in wait on any rallies.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper lost 1 percent to 37620 yuan ($5,914) a tonne, having dropped to its weakest since late Sept.
“Copper imports remained strong, but we expect these to weaken in November and more so December,” said Citi. “We expect demand from the sector over November-December to remain down from September, but up significantly compared to H1.”
China’s imports of copper fell 8.7 percent from a month ago to 420,000 tonnes in October, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
China is making 6.5 percent a floor or minimum level for annual economic growth in 2016 through 2020, a senior Chinese policymaker said on Monday, adding that the figure would be a base for setting a target for the five-year period.
Reflecting souring sentiment towards copper, hedge funds and money managers switched to a bearish position in copper futures and options in the week to Nov. 3, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
In other metals, LME zinc held its ground, up 0.2 percent.
Belgium’s Nyrstar, the world’s top zinc producer, said on Monday it may cut up to another 400,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate output if prices remain depressed, as it released a raft of measures to shore up its balance sheet.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
$1 = 6.3609 Chinese yuan Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Michael Perry and Sunil Nair