METALS-Base metals drop as China demand uncertainty weighs

Jan 5 (Reuters)Prices of nonferrous metals dropped on Thursday, as rising coronavirus cases in top consumer China reinforced worries over demand that is already under pressure from weakening global industrial activity.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 was down 0.1% at $8,246.50 a tonne by 0214 GMT, while the most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 declined 1.4% to 64,120 yuan ($9,315.16) a tonne. Both contracts were on track for their fifth session of losses.

SHFE nickel SNICv1 shed 4% to 223,160 yuan a tonne, aluminium SAFcv1 fell 1.4% to 17,755 yuan a tonne, zinc SZNcv1 decreased 0.9% to 23,125 yuan a tonne and tin SSNcv1 was down 0.9% at 208,110 yuan a tonne.

China’s abrupt ending of its ultra-strict COVID-19 curbs last month has unleashed the virus on the nation’s 1.4 billion people.

Many Chinese funeral homes and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, and international health experts predict at least 1 million COVID-related deaths in China this year.

LME lead CMPB3 fell 0.7% to $2,252 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 decreased 0.2% to $2,986 a tonne while aluminium CMAL3 rose 0.3% to $2,272.50 a tonne and tin CMSN3 rose 1.2% to $25,405 a tonne.

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting showed it remained focused on curbing inflation, despite agreeing that the bank should slow the pace of its aggressive interest rate increases.

Rising interest rates have pushed the U.S. dollar higher, making greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies and are seen as a trigger for metals prices.

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0900 Germany Overall Comprehensive Risk Q1

0900 France Overall Comprehensive Risk Q1

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1445 US S&P Global Comp, Svcs Final PMI Dec

($1 = 6.8834 yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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