Sydney : Copper prices eased in early Asian trading on Friday, hurt by a shift to stocks due to U.S. earnings optimism and a rise in oil prices.

Nickel was also weaker, with the active China futures contract following London metal lower.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.1 percent to $7,135.50 a tonne by 0100 GMT, extending losses from the previous session.

Capital Economics said it expects copper to continue its retreat, averaging just $6,800 a tonne in the first quarter and $6,250 in the second quarter.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange retreated 0.9 percent to 54,610 yuan ($8,407) a tonne. Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, one of China´s top copper smelters, will suspend production at its Jinguan Copper unit for three days from Friday for repairs, a source familiar with the matter said.

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Source:: The News International – Business

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