February 7, 2020 / 12:50 PM / in 4 months

METALS-Copper falls as spread of coronavirus stokes demand worries

 (Adds closing prices)
    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Friday on
concerns that a rising death toll from the coronavirus in China
could lead to a bigger hit to economic activity and metals'
    Three-month copper         on the London Metal Exchange
(LME) ended 1.3% lower at $5,663 an ounce. 
    However, prices ended the week 1.8% higher, marking the
first weekly gain in three on hopes for a cure for the virus. 
    "Metals prices are looking for some direction at the
moment," said Caroline Bain, senior commodities economist at
Capital Economics.
    The death toll from the virus in mainland China rose to 636
on Friday, up by 73 from the previous day, the National Health
Commission said. 
    "We have had two days where (the) number of infections has
been lower so one hopes that the virus is being brought under
control but it's still too soon to be in any way certain."
    There have been two deaths outside mainland China, in Hong
Kong and the Philippines and nearly 320 cases have been reported
in 27 other countries and regions outside mainland China.
    Metals prices mostly fell even as China's central bank
pledged support for the economy to cushion the blow from the
virus outbreak.             
    CHINA GROWTH: S&P Global Ratings cut its Chinese 2020 growth
forecast to 5%, down from 5.7% on Friday, saying the impact of
the coronavirus outbreak could take a heavy short-term toll.
    FORCE MAJEURE: Guangxi Nanguo Copper smelter has declared
force majeure on deliveries of copper concentrate as a result of
the outbreak, sources told Reuters.             
    Nonferrous metal output in China will fall at least 10% in
February but operations are expected to normalise after the
second quarter, the country's metal association said.
    MITSUBISHI: Japan's Mitsubishi Materials Corp         
bought a 30% stake in the Mantoverde copper mine in Chile and
associated copper project for $236 million to secure more
concentrates for its smelters, the company said.             
    ALUMINIUM: Norsk Hydro          reported lower-than-expected
fourth-quarter earnings on falling metal prices and said it
expects global supply of aluminium to outstrip demand in 2020.
    CHILE: Chile copper export revenue jumped 8.3% to $2.716
billion in January, the central bank said.             
    ZINC: Inventories of zinc in LME-approved warehouses jumped
to 62,675 tonnes, data on Friday showed, the highest since Oct.
    Rising stocks have pushed down the premium of LME cash zinc
over the three-month contract to $4.50 a tonne, near its lowest
in three-months. MZNSTX-TOTAL CMZN0-3
    OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium         shed 0.6% to $1,726 a
tonne, zinc         dropped 2.8% to $2,145, lead         was
down 1.5% to $1,817, tin         shed 3.1% to $16,175 and nickel
        ended 2.2% lower to $12,775.

 (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, additional reporting by Mai
Nguyen; Editing by Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens)
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