April 6, 2017 / 9:55 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Cautious copper closes lower ahead of U.S. meeting with China

(Releads, updates with closing prices)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, April 6 (Reuters) - Copper closed lower on Thursday with investors largely cautious ahead of the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The United States is targeting a reduction in China’s $347 billion goods trade surplus through tougher enforcement of trade laws and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

“You’ve got Trump and Xi Jinping meeting, and that is uppermost in most people’s minds in terms of trade tensions, given that China is a big consumer (of copper),” Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

“There’s bound to be a bit of caution,” he added.

The metal had posted its biggest daily rise in nearly two months on Wednesday, climbing 2 percent as Chinese buyers returned to the market after a break.

However, indications that the Federal Reserve might start paring back its vast asset holdings this year also curbed appetite for cyclical assets during Thursday.

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 0.6 percent at $5,858 a tonne.

* MARKETS: Stocks staged a cautious fight back on Thursday before a potentially tense meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

* FED NEWS: Most Federal Reserve policymakers think the central bank should take steps to trim its $4.5 trillion balance sheet later this year as long as economic data holds up, minutes from their last meeting showed.

* JAPAN COPPER: Japan’s Pan Pacific Copper (PPC) plans to cut its April-September output of refined copper by 19.9 percent from the same period last year due to long maintenance at one of its plants.

* TECHNICALS: LME copper may retest resistance at $5,928 a tonne, a break above which could spark a rally to $5,969, the 86.4 percent Fibonacci projection level of an upward wave (c), Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

* ALUMINIUM STOCKS: On-warrant aluminium stocks MALSTX-TOTAL held in London Metal Exchange warehouses, representing metal available for delivery, fell below 1 million tonnes for the first time since May 2008 on Tuesday, to 988,100 tonnes.

* LEAD, ZINC: Australian miner South32 Ltd cut output forecasts on Thursday after a fire at its Cannington silver and lead mine. LME lead closed down 0.7 percent at $2,295 a tonne, while zinc ended the day 1.9 percent lower at $2,726 a tonne.

* OTHER METALS: LME aluminium closed down 0.4 percent at $1,953 a tonne, while nickel ended 2.1 percent lower at $10,080 a tonne. Tin finished up 1 percent at $20,310.

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