July 6, 2015 / 10:35 AM / 5 years ago

METALS-Copper hits 5-month low but no panic on China, Greece woes

* Beijing takes emergency steps to support stock market

* Greece’s place in euro zone in doubt after ‘No’ vote

* IMF says ready to help Greece if asked (Adds details, closing prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Copper hit a five-month low on Monday after Greece edged closer to leaving the euro zone and top copper consumer China rolled out emergency measures to halt the stock market’s slide but the metal saw no signs of panic selling.

Chinese stocks rose as an unprecedented series of support measures from Beijing brought some relief to a market whose headlong fall in the past three weeks had raised fears over the stability of the world’s second-biggest economy.

Greece overwhelmingly rejected conditions of a rescue package from creditors on Sunday, throwing the country’s euro zone membership into further doubt. There was some hope in markets though after the International Monetary Fund said it ready to assist Greece if asked.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slid to its weakest since Feb. 3 at $5,520 a tonne before cutting losses to end at $5,590 a tonne, down 2.9 percent.

“There are enough headwinds at the moment, metals are well if not oversupplied and now demand in the two largest regions, China and the euro zone, is being undermined by uncertainty so we’ve got to move lower,” said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

Reflecting negative sentiment, hedge funds and money managers increased their net short or sell positions in copper in the week ended June 30, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed.

But limiting losses in copper was news that large copper smelters in China have lowered their minimum treatment charges for spot concentrate imports in the third quarter by 10 percent due to falling global supply.

Further out though, many see copper demand improving towards the year-end, as cheap money spurs a recovery in China’s economy and as this year’s expected supply growth looks set to disappoint.

Nickel ended down 2.5 percent at $11,700 a tonne even as LME stocks slid to 456,450 tonnes, extending a downtrend that has been mostly in place since early June.

“Nickel’s various supply options appear constrained. However, we do not regard (this) as a sufficient condition (for price upside). The signal to track for a price-driving demand-side event is a lift in stainless steel prices,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Aluminium closed down 1.5 percent to $1,685 a tonne on oversupply concerns.

The European Union will impose anti-dumping duties on imports of Russian aluminium foil.

“There’s a very large (aluminium) surplus that is not necessarily helped by trade barriers. Despite bright spots (for demand) the surplus is causing investor bearishness,” said Mu Li, senior metals analyst at CPM Group.

Lead hit a three-month low of $1,730 a tonne, hurt by receding worries over looming supply constraints coupled with weak summer demand. The metal closed down 0.2 percent at $1,766.

Tin ended down 0.4 percent at $14,300 while zinc closed down 0.3 percent at $2,014 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 = 6.2086 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)

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