(Updates prices, adds quotes)
By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, July 24 (Reuters) – London copper prices were on track for their first weekly loss in 11 weeks on Friday on escalating tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 2.2% to $6,399 a tonne by 0533 GMT, down 0.8% on a weekly basis, while the September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined 0.7% to 51,380 yuan ($7,316.69) a tonne.
China ordered the United States to close its consulate in the city of Chengdu, in a tit-for-tat response to being told to shut its consulate in Houston earlier this week.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for “more creative and assertive ways” to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its ways.
“The markets are back under pressure. The reason … is the heightened tension between China and the United States,” said Malcolm Freeman, a director at UK broker Kingdom Futures.
“Given any opportunity, there does seem to be a faction that wants to get the copper market down by triggering technical sells … however, there are a great number of trade customers looking for a dip to start buying.”
* NICKEL: ShFE nickel jumped 2% to 107,370 yuan a tonne, while LME nickel dropped 2% to $13,415 a tonne, following a 4.2% jump in the previous session after Tesla boss Elon Musk urged miners to produce more nickel.
* U.S. LABOUR: U.S. unemployment rose unexpectedly last week, suggesting the labour market was stalling amid the recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
* OTHER METALS: LME aluminium eased 0.51% to $1,692 a tonne and zinc fell 1.9% to $2,196 a tonne. ShFE zinc advanced 0.1% to 17,865 yuan a tonne and tin rose 0.4% to 141,930 yuan a tonne.
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$1 = 7.0223 yuan
Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu