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METALS-London copper rises on weak dollar, virus concerns dent demand outlook


(Updates prices)

Aug 4 (Reuters) - London copper prices rose on Wednesday, as the dollar was near recent lows, with traders focused on U.S. jobs data for cues on rates policy, but surging cases of the coronavirus’ Delta variant dented the metal’s demand outlook.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.5% to $9,589 a tonne by 0703 GMT, while the most-traded September contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 1.1% at 70,120 yuan ($10,855.67) a tonne.

The dollar index has now slipped more than 1% from a 15-week peak it struck a fortnight ago. A weak dollar makes greenback-priced metals cheaper to holders of other currencies.

However, trading was tepid and the resurgence of coronavirus in various countries, especially top metal consumer China, sparked concerns of weakening demand.

Since late July, the highly transmissible Delta variant infections have been detected locally in at least a dozen cities, including big ones such as Beijing, Wuhan and Chongqing.

“If this continues, Chinese industrial activity is bound to be affected once again,” said Malcolm Freeman, director at UK broker Kingdom Futures.

“It looks like we will have to endure markets that are behaving like rudderless ships for a while longer.”


* LME aluminium rose 0.4% to $2,595 a tonne, nickel eased 0.1% to $19,375 a tonne, zinc advanced 0.3% to $2,977.50 a tonne, while ShFE zinc shed 1.3% to 22,050 yuan a tonne and ShFE tin lost 1.1% to 229,580 yuan a tonne.

* Top copper miner Codelco’s June output rose 14.9% year-on-year to 151,600 tonnes, while production at the world’s biggest copper mine Escondida fell 21.6% in the same period.

* A union representing striking workers at Vale SA’s nickel mine in Sudbury, Canada reached a tentative agreement to settle an ongoing labor dispute that saw 2,500 workers walk off their job on June 1.

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