February 20, 2019 / 4:14 AM / a year ago

METALS-Copper ticks higher for sixth session on trade optimism

 (Adds quote, Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices)
    BEIJING, Feb 20 (Reuters) - London copper prices rose for a
sixth consecutive session on Wednesday, striking a fresh
two-month high on hopes of a trade deal between China and the
United States.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday talks with
China, currently taking place in Washington, were going well and
suggested he was open to pushing off the deadline to complete
negotiations, saying March 1 was not a "magical" date.
    Tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are
scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent by March 1 if
there is no deal, which analysts expect would weigh on copper
demand and prices.
    "Optimism around the trade deal has been a key reason behind
the price recovery, so any trade talks could again spook
negative sentiment across the metals," ANZ said in a note.
    * LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal
Exchange climbed as much as 0.5 percent to $6,350.50 a
tonne, the highest since Dec. 3, and stood at $6,346 a tonne, as
of 0705 GMT.
    * SHFE COPPER: The most-traded April copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange gained as much as 0.9 percent
to 49,790 yuan ($7,404.16) a tonne, the highest since Dec. 5,
before closing at 49,719 yuan.
    * COPPER SPREADS: The premium of cash copper over the
three-month LME contract CMCU0-3 was at $25 a tonne on
Tuesday, versus a discount of $14.25 a week earlier. 
    "The nearby squeeze on the copper spread is not a reflection
of physical demand, but of shorts being trapped and trying to
roll positions forwards," Malcolm Freeman, director of Kingdom
Futures, said in a note.
    * OTHER METALS: The entire LME complex was higher, with
aluminium and nickel both adding 0.8 percent.
Shanghai lead was the sole laggard, closing down 0.3
    * LEAD: The global lead market narrowed its annual deficit
to 98,000 tonnes in 2018 compared to a shortfall of 148,000 in
the previous year, data from the International Lead and Zinc
Study Group showed.    
    * ALUMINIUM: South32 could cut about 500 jobs at
its Hillside aluminium smelter in South Africa, a trade union
    * COLUMN: The United States' aluminium tariff wall is
crumbling: Andy Home. 
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    * Asian stocks advanced to 4-1/2-month highs as investors
bet that Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators would be able to
de-escalate their tariff war.
 BASE METALS PRICES                      0707 GMT
 Three month LME copper                    6346.5
 Most active ShFE copper                    49710
 Three month LME aluminium                   1870
 Most active ShFE aluminium                 13475
 Three month LME zinc                        2673
 Most active ShFE zinc                      21630
 Three month LME lead                        2026
 Most active ShFE lead                      16765
 Three month LME nickel                     12765
 Most active ShFE nickel                   100680
 Three month LME tin                        21205
 Most active ShFE tin                      150410
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                           
 LME/SHFE COPPER             LMESHFCUc3     19.61
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM          LMESHFALc3   -986.72
 LME/SHFE ZINC               LMESHFZNc3    206.12
 LME/SHFE LEAD               LMESHFPBc3    506.24
 LME/SHFE NICKEL             LMESHFNIc3    -41.45
 ($1 = 6.7246 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Tom Daly and Naveen Thukral; Editing by Richard
Pullin and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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