January 24, 2017 / 3:18 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Weak dollar leads copper markets higher

(Updates prices)

* Dollar down, copper up on Trump protectionism concerns

* LME, Shanghai copper rise

* Lunar Year seen slowing copper gains

By James Regan

SYDNEY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Copper crept higher on Tuesday as the dollar struggled amid concerns of U.S. protectionism under the newly-formed administration of President Donald Trump.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up by 0.5 percent to $5,826.00 a tonne by 0700 GMT.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was also 0.6 percent firmer at 47,070 yuan ($6,863) a tonne.

Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, saying he would seek one-on-one trade deals with countries that would allow Washington to quickly terminate them “if somebody misbehaves”.

The dollar wallowed near seven-week lows in Asian trade, pressured by concerns about the impact of U.S President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade stance.

Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that an excessively strong dollar was negative in the short term, which put additional pressure on the currency.

A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated assets such as copper cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Copper, widely used in construction, has rallied 14 percent since Trump won the U.S. election on Nov. 8 on the back of promises to cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending.

Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist for Capital Economics, said she did not expect a major increase in U.S. manufacturing output.

“However, this may change if U.S. trade policy becomes more protectionist or there is sizeable investment in infrastructure in the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency,” Bain said in a note.

Offsetting expectations of rising copper prices is the Lunar New Year holiday, starting Jan. 27, which is expected to subdue metals demand this month as Chinese factories close, sometimes for two to three weeks.

LME zinc was steady at $2,790 a tonne, maintaining its standing as one January’s best performing metals.

SHFE zinc rose 0.3 percent 22,695 yuan tonne.

LME aluminium returned some overnight gains to trade slightly down at $1,845 a tonne. On Monday, the metal climbed as high as $1,873, the highest since May 2015.

ShFE aluminium added 0.18 percent to 13,725 yuan a tonne.


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 ($1 = 6.8582 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Sonali Paul and Amrutha Gayathri)

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