Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) eased 0.3% to $5,864 per tonne by 1210 GMT.
Nickel prices fell for a seventh session to a three-month low after top producer Indonesia allowed nine companies to resume ore exports until the end of the year.
LONDON: Copper fell to a one-week low on Tuesday ahead of a speech by US President Donald Trump in which he is expected to announce a delay in auto tariffs and provide clues about the direction of the wider U.S-China trade war.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) eased 0.3% to $5,864 per tonne by 1210 GMT. Prices for the metal used in power and construction are at their lowest since November 1 and headed for their third straight day of decline.
The months-long Sino-US trade conflict has weighed on global economic growth, including in China, which accounts for about half of the world’s metal demand.
Copper, also a gauge for economic health, fell to a two-year low of $5,518 in September.
Markets were anticipating a further delay in a decision on whether Trump will slap tariffs on cars and auto parts imported from the European Union.
Copper will be rangebound until there are clearer signals regarding trade-related news, said ING Senior Commodities Strategist Wenyu Yao.
“We are waiting for the tone regarding the US-China talks during Trump’s speech,” she said.
Markets were also looking ahead to industrial production in China on Thursday, which is expected to show a slowdown in October.
Headline stocks of copper on the LME fell by 4,850 tonnes to 229,350, the lowest since June 11. LME copper stocks have been declining since August when they hit a 2019 peak of around 340,000 tonnes.
But spreads pointed to a well-supplied market, with the cash copper contract deepening its discount to the three-month contract <CMCU0-3> to about $18 a tonne.
Fund short positions on the CME copper contract have shrunk over the last couple of weeks as the prospect of a trade deal becomes more credible.
Nickel prices fell for a seventh session to a three-month low after top producer Indonesia allowed nine companies to resume ore exports until the end of the year. Shipments were halted on Oct. 28 due to export rule violations.
Prices for the metal used to make stainless steel hit a five-year high in September after the Southeast Asian country brought forward a ban on ore exports by two years.
On Tuesday, they were down 0.7% to $15,450 a tonne, an over two month low.
Japan’s top three steelmakers reduced their annual profit forecasts this month as slumping steel prices in Asia eroded export margins while slower auto demand overseas and falling machinery usage at home forced them to cut output.
LME aluminium fell 0.7% to $1,767 a tonne, zinc shed 0.3% to $2,490, lead ceded 0.2% to $2,085,50, and tin lost 0.4% to $16,505.