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Copper Dips in Thin Holiday Trade as Physical Demand Weakens

LONDON, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Copper prices edged lower on Friday, sapped by thin holiday trade and concerns about weaker physical demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.5% to $9,564 a tonne in official open-outcry trading, after four straight days of gains that propelled it to a two-week high on Thursday.

"The metals prices may well have recovered recent losses but that is very much in the world of futures trading as the physical world is very quiet and the demand for metal is falling away," said Malcolm Freeman of Kingdom Futures.

China's Yangshan copper premium for refined copper imports has slipped to $90 a tonne from $104 a week ago.

The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed daytime trading 0.3% lower at 69,750 yuan ($10,950.62) a tonne, after a three-day rally.

"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 in Singapore.

Health experts have warned that the battle against the Omicron coronavirus variant was far from over despite two drugmakers saying their vaccines protected against it and signs it carries a lower risk of hospitalisation. 

* Las Bambas copper mine said that a temporary truce to lift a month-long blockade affecting a key copper transport road in Peru does not guarantee conditions to restart operations in a sustainable way. 

* A Japanese aluminium buyer has agreed to pay a global producer a premium of $177 per tonne over the benchmark price for shipments in January to March, down 20% from the current quarter, sources said.

* LME aluminium fell 0.2% to $2,841 a tonne, halting a three-day advance. Surging energy prices in Europe raised concerns of higher production costs and smelter shutdowns, propelling aluminium to a two-month high on Thursday. 

* LME nickel rose 0.3% in official activity to $20,075 a tonne and zinc added 0.2% to $3,533, while lead slipped 0.1% to $2,271 and tin was flat at $38,900.

($1 = 6.3695 yuan)

Additional reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; editing by Uttaresh.V, Kirsten Donovan

Source: Reuters

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