(Adds copper spread, updates with official prices)
By Eric Onstad
LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped on Tuesday
after a steep rally on worries about rising coronavirus cases
and more friction between the United States and top metals
Copper had soared about 50% from its 45-month lows touched
in March to a two-year peak hit on Monday, largely on supply
concerns from the biggest producer Chile.
But copper stumbled along with stock markets and oil after
the most populous U.S. state California imposed fresh
coronavirus restrictions and the United States rejected China's
disputed claims in most of the South China Sea. "It's a long overdue reality check today that we've had in
store for a couple of weeks now. I've been absolutely blown away
by just how quickly copper has rebounded," said Kieran Clancy,
assistant commodities economist at Capital Economics.
"It's just been rocketing and I think some of that was based
on hopes and not reality. There are so many things priced into
the copper market that haven't actually happened yet, not least
of which being some of the supply risks in Latin America."
Chile's copper miners have largely maintained output,
although state-owned Codelco said on Monday it registered a
total 3,215 COVID-19 infections and nine deaths due to the
pandemic. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.2% to $6,491 a tonne in official trading.
"The physical premium in China has risen this week,
suggesting this is a short-term correction as demand remains
firm and the concerns about disruption in Chile are real," said
commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron in Singapore.
* CHILE STRIKE: Supervisors at Antofagasta Minerals' Centinela copper mine in Chile have voted in favour of
strike action, pending mediation.
* COPPER SPREAD: The premium of LME cash copper over the
three month contract rose to $9 a tonne by Monday's
close, the highest since May last year and compared to a
discount of $30 about a month ago, indicating tight supplies in
* PRICES: LME aluminium lost 0.9% in official
activity to $1,675 a tonne, zinc dropped 2.8% to
$2,198.50, nickel fell 1.1% to $13,567, lead shed 1.2% to $1,858 and tin gave up 1.5% to $17,170.
* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore; editing by
Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Louise Heavens)
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