September 25, 2018 / 10:59 AM / a year ago

METALS-Copper pressured by China property worries after holiday

* Chinese property shares fall more than 3 pct

* LME prices adjust after one-day Chinese holiday

* LME copper inventories fall to lowest since January (Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Copper, zinc and other base metals slid on Tuesday, rattled by more concerns about the economy of top metals consumer China and adjusting after a one-day closure of Chinese markets.

Chinese share markets fell on Tuesday, partly driven by a plunge in property companies on worries that a property pre-sale system may be scrapped.

The construction sector is one of the top sources of demand for industrial metals such as copper and zinc.

“We note developers shares declined more than 3 percent ... (with) debt fears resurfacing following last week’s positivity around tax cuts and consumption growth,” Alastair Munro at broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

The negative sentiment in China caused the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE), which was closed on Monday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, to only partially track Friday’s rally on the London Metal Exchange.

Though LME copper surged 4.6 percent on Friday in its biggest one-day advance since May 2013 and pulled back marginally on Monday, ShFE copper rose only 1.5 percent on Tuesday.

Three-month LME copper closed 0.6 percent down at $6,318 a tonne.

“The move in LME copper is just an adjustment around the arb (arbitrage), given that copper rallied whilst the Chinese were off for the day,” said Nicholas Snowdon, metals analyst at Deutsche Bank in London.

* ARBITRAGE: Copper, zinc and nickel arbitrage windows have been open for an extended period, normally spurring imports of metals into China, but this has been curbed by uncertainty over possible cuts in import taxes, Snowdon said.

“At the moment traders are holding back on importing metal until they have clarity on the actual tax adjustment and the timing,” he said.

Premier Li Keqiang, in comments posted on Sunday, said that China would cut import and export costs for foreign firms.

* COPPER STOCKS: LME copper inventories MCUSTX-TOTAL fell further on Tuesday to 212,925 tonnes, the lowest since January.

* TECHNICALS: Commerzbank technical analyst Axel Rudolph has upgraded copper to “bullish” from “neutral”, saying in a note: “We expect the $6,378/$6,382.50 resistance area to soon give way, in which case our once-again bullish forecast will be confirmed, with the 200-day moving average at $6,700.79 then being targeted.”

* ZINC: Bearish investors have been targeting LME zinc , which shed 2.2 percent to finish at $2,507 a tonne. “The metal exhibits the second-largest short of the complex on our estimates at 25 percent of open interest,” Marex’s Munro said.

* PRICES: LME aluminium ended the day 0.5 percent firmer at $2,071 a tonne, lead fell 1.7 percent to $2,009, nickel edged down 0.04 percent to $12,950 and tin dipped by 0.1 percent to $18,900.

Reporting by Eric Onstad Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman

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