July 14, 2015 / 10:25 AM / in 5 years

METALS-Copper down on worries over Greece bailout deal, excess supply

* LME inventories rise in four of six metals

* Lead stocks surge 29 pct, prices fall

* Nickel vulnerable during summer lull-analyst (Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - Copper and some other metals retreated on Tuesday on uncertainty about Greece’s debt deal and inventory rises that highlighted concerns about excess supply.

The London Metal Exchange saw strong gains on Monday following a bailout deal between Greece and creditors, but the Greek prime minister has less than 48 hours to pass a series of pro-market reforms in parliament and smother dissent from hardliners.

“There was absolute relief yesterday, but now people are standing back and realising there are still several hurdles,” said Stephen Briggs, metals strategist at BNP Paribas in London.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 0.5 percent at $5,565 a tonne, following small losses the previous session. Copper prices plumbed a six-year trough of $5,240 a tonne last week.

Further pressuring the market was LME data that showed inventory increases in four of the six main base metals, including copper.

“The fundamentals for copper are not great. Demand is growing only slowly, we’re in the midst of this mini-boom in mining and the market’s in surplus,” Briggs said.

“If China is not prepared to swallow this stuff, whether it’s the SRB (State Reserves Bureau) or financing deals, it’s going to have to appear somewhere. And I expect more of this (stock rises) to happen this quarter when demand is on the soft side.”

Markets, which were also still digesting the aftermath of last week’s stock market crash in China, were moderately soothed after the country’s bank lending rose sharply in June.

Lead shed 0.2 percent to end at $1,840 a tonne, paring losses from a low of $1,808.50, after LME stocks MPBSTX-TOTAL surged by 29 percent or 49,625 tonnes.

Prices jumped 3 percent on Monday after LME data showed one party had taken control of 40-50 percent of LME inventories, but Tuesday’s delivery eased worries about potential shortages.

LME nickel sank 1.1 percent to finish at $11,555 a tonne, paring part of the previous session’s 4.2-percent advance, which was fuelled by investors rushing to cover short positions.

“We believe further price support is unlikely before the end of August, when stainless mills, stockists and consumers return from the long holiday period,” said Citi analyst David Wilson in a note.

Stainless steel is the dominant use for nickel.

Aluminium closed down 0.4 percent at $1,707 a tonne, zinc edged up 0.1 percent to $2,054 and tin gained 0.6 percent to $14,745.

PRICES

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 (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Keith Weir and Pravin Char)

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