January 17, 2017 / 10:54 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Copper slips as markets fret over Trump, Brexit

* Trump dollar comments rattle Wall Street, U.S. currency

* UK PM May’s speech prompts pound surge, batters stocks

* Nickel loses ground as Indonesia moves to boost exports

* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with closing prices)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Copper fell for a second day on Tuesday as uncertainty ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president this week and concerns over Britain’s impending exit from the European Union hurt appetite for cyclical assets.

Stocks and the dollar fell and gold rose as investors looked for safety after President-elect Trump said the U.S. currency was too strong, while sterling jumped as UK Prime Minister Theresa May promised parliament a vote on Brexit.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 1.9 percent at $5,754 a tonne, off an earlier low of $5,727 a tonne.

The metal hit its highest since early December early on Monday at $5,930 a tonne, but has since retreated as moves in the broader financial markets prompted some investors to cash in gains.

“We have this speech from Theresa May, we have Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday,” Danske Bank analyst Jens Pedersen said. “There is some negative risk sentiment on the back of this political uncertainty, and that is weighing on copper and the dollar at the same time.”

Copper remains up more than 4 percent this year, however, and industrial metals are likely to stay well supported by rising demand and tightening supply, he said. “The markets will be the tightest they’ve been in some years in 2017.”

LME-registered copper stocks MCU-STOCKS fell another 1,625 tonnes on Monday, exchange data showed, bringing their decline for the year to 34,450 tonnes, or 11 percent.

Strong Chinese demand and positive U.S. economic data are supporting base metals more broadly. Chinese customs data on Friday showed the country shipped in a record 4.95 million tonnes of copper in 2016.

LME nickel closed at $10,160 a tonne, down another 0.9 percent after the metal slid 1.8 percent on Monday on the back of Indonesia’s move to ease a ban on nickel ore exports.

Indonesia introduced new rules last week that will allow exports of nickel ore and bauxite under certain conditions in a sweeping policy shift by the key global supplier.

“Recent Indonesian and Filipino nickel supply news reinforce our view that nickel will be the base metals underperformer in 2017,” Citi analyst David Wilson said.

LME lead closed 1.2 percent higher at $2,295 a tonne, while aluminium ended the day up 0.3 percent at $1,798 a tonne. Tin closed 0.2 percent higher at $21,100 a tonne.

Zinc closed down 1.2 percent at $2,716.50 a tonne.

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 Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Susan Fenton and Alexandra Hudson)

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