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METALS-Copper slides as U.S.-China relations deteriorate

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* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns:
* Premium for cash over three-month aluminium around $11/T
* Nickel falls to four-month low, breaches 200-day moving average (Updates with closing prices) By Pratima Desai LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped on Thursday as deteriorating relations between the United States and China cast doubt over prospects for imminent resolution to the prolonged trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended 0.9% down at $5,892 a tonne. Hopes of agreement on a preliminary deal to end the trade impasse pushed copper to a three-week high of $5,968 on Wednesday. The latest setback came after China warned it would take "firm counter measures" in response to U.S. President Donald Trump signing into law legislation that supports protesters in Hong Kong. "Trump has raised the stakes in the tariff war with China," said SP Angel analyst John Meyer. "It doesn't look as if anything is going to be agreed any time soon.


HONG KONG: U.S. legislation requires the State Department to certify that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to justify favourable U.S. trading terms that have helped it to maintain its position as a world financial centre. CHINA: Prices have come under pressure since the trade dispute started last year because China is the world's largest consumer of industrial metals. Markets are awaiting surveys of purchasing managers in China's manufacturing sector for clues to future demand. The data due next week is expected to show activity shrank for a seventh consecutive month in November. ALUMINIUM: The premium for cash aluminium over the three-month contract , at $11 a tonne, has slipped from more than $13 a tonne, its highest since December 2018. It is expected to attract metal needed for delivery against LME contracts.


Three-month aluminium was down 0.7% at $1,752. NICKEL: Prices of the stainless steel ingredient fell to a four-month low of $13,930 as funds and traders cut long positions. The sell-off accelerated after prices breached the 200-day moving average at $14,305. It closed 2.1% down at $14,010.


CONSUMPTION: Nickel has come under pressure from worries about demand from stainless steel mills, mostly located in China, which account for roughly two thirds of consumption estimated at about 2.4 million tonnes this year. STOCKS: Historically low inventories of nickel, at less than 70,000 tonnes, in LME-registered warehouses as well as cancelled warrants -- metal earmarked for delivery -- at nearly 34% of total stocks are expected to support prices . PRICES: Zinc was down 0.8% at $2,279 and tin gained 0.1% to $16,420. Lead was untraded at the close but was bid at a little-changed $1,944.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Nickel prices fall on subdued demand from stainless steel industry ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Reporting by Pratima Desai Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and David Goodman)


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