By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, Sept 18 (Reuters) - London copper prices edged down and other industrial metals traded in tight ranges on Wednesday as investors awaited clues on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s future monetary policy.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) dipped by 0.1% to $5,816.50 a tonne at 0716 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) eased 0.2% to 47,310 yuan ($6,673.63).
The Fed is widely expected to announce an interest rate cut when it concludes its two-day policy meeting later on Wednesday, with markets focusing on the statement and economic projections from policymakers.
“A rate cut would definitely push up prices (but only) in the very short term,” said CRU copper analyst He Tianyu, adding that prices would then fall back because a rate cut had been widely expected and demand for copper remainsweak.
LME aluminium slipped by 0.3%, nickel rose 1%, zinc fell 0.6% and lead was barely changed. ShFE aluminium edged 0.3% down, nickel was flat, zinc eased by 0.2% and tin fell 0.3%.
* LEAD: ShFE lead fell as much as 1.9% to a one-month low on a rising supply outlook after Belgium’s Nyrstar said it had temporarily reopened an old lead-processing plant in Australia.
* TRADE DEAL: U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration could seal a deal on trade with China before the U.S. presidential election, or an agreement could be reached the day after U.S. voters go to the polls.
* LITHIUM: Chile is making a renewed push for battery technology investment in return for access to its lithium deposits, piquing interest from China, Japan and Europe as global companies look to secure supply for electric vehicles.
The expected strong demand from the auto sector, as well as supply cuts, should help Australian lithium miners to recover towards the middle of next year, earlier than expected, a Benchmark Minerals Intelligence executive said.
* EV SUPPLY CHAIN: The United States is losing the race to extract and refine minerals used to make electric vehicles and should do more to spur domestic production, a bipartisan group of senators said.
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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
ARBS ($1 = 7.0891 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by David Goodman)