Base metals posted a fifth straight weekly loss in London as the trade conflict between the U.S. and China escalated, with nickel bearing heavy losses amid fears the rift will derail global growth and dent usage in China’s steel-making sector.
Most metals slumped on the London Metal Exchange after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China on Thursday, and Beijing announced retaliatory duties shortly afterward.
Copper and aluminum hit fresh three-month lows and mining majors including Glencore Plc and Rio Tinto Group dropped in London. Gold rallied as investors flocked to haven assets.
Worsening trade tensions drove the longest string of weekly losses in the LME’s index of six base metals since November 2015, compounding fears that a sustained spell of strong global growth may stall.
Manufacturing gauges showed signs of strain this week, while in the U.S., higher interest rates and import tariffs could increase costs for consumers driving the country’s economic resurgence, according to Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.
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