Industrial metals rangebound as investors gauge Omicron impact

Dec 24 (Reuters) – Industrial metals were rangebound on Friday as investors awaited fresh clues on how the rapidly spreading Omicron coronavirus variant would affect global demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.2% to $9,632 a tonne by 0407 GMT, moving back and forth but was on track for a weekly gain of more than 2%.

It touched a two-week high of $9,669 a tonne on Thursday, partly bolstered by concerns over tight supply.

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The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended the morning trade 0.1% lower at 69,910 yuan ($10,975.05) a tonne, but was up 1% so far this week.

“Generally, I’m not expecting much excitement going into year-end unless there are major news or developments being reported, such as Omicron news that is beyond our expectations,” said Wong Min Hao, a commodities manager with Phillip Futures.

The headlines this week have been dominated by news about Omicron, with health experts warning the battle against the variant was far from over despite two drugmakers saying their vaccines protected against it and signs it carries a lower risk of hospitalisation. read more

* LME aluminium fell 0.4% to $2,835 a tonne, retreating from a two-month high scaled on Thursday. It was on track for a second straight weekly gain, of more than 4%, as surging energy prices in Europe raised concerns of higher production costs and smelter shutdowns. read more

* Shanghai aluminium shed 0.2% to 20,220 yuan a tonne, after hitting a seven-week peak in the previous session.

* LME zinc fell 0.2% to $3,519 a tonne, while Shanghai zinc steadied at 24,420 yuan a tonne.

* LME nickel rose 0.3% to $20,085 a tonne and Shanghai nickel advanced 0.6% to 148,420 yuan a tonne.

* Shanghai lead slumped 1.5% to 15,420 yuan a tonne, but LME lead was flat at $2,272.50 a tonne.

* LME tin rose 0.5% to $39,100 a tonne and Shanghai tin climbed 1.9% to 288,500 yuan a tonne.

($1 = 6.3699 yuan)

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Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Subhranshu Sahu

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.