(Updates prices, adds U.S. data)
By Peter Hobson
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – Copper and other base metals prices fell sharply on Friday as a threat by U.S. President Donald Trump to impose new tariffs on China and bleak economic data added to pessimism over the demand outlook.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.6% at $5,108 a tonne at 1640 GMT and on track for a weekly loss of 0.7%.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) was closed for a public holiday and will reopen on Wednesday. Some European countries were also holding public holidays.
Copper fell more than 40% from mid-January to mid-March, touching a four-year low of $4,371 as the coronavirus shuttered industry. However, prices have recovered somewhat on lockdown-related supply disruption and as top consumer China has eased coronavirus restrictions.
“The market got a bit ahead of itself … the scale of destruction on the supply side is not even close to matching the scale of demand destruction,” said Capital Economics analyst Kieran Clancy.
“Until we see the demand side of the economy back towards normal, any rallies are unlikely to be sustained.”
TRADE WAR: Trump said he was concerned about China’s role in the origin and spread of the coronavirus and threatened new tariffs on Beijing. Stock markets fell.
FACTORIES: U.S. manufacturing activity plunged to an 11-year low in April.
SOUTH KOREA: South Korean exports plunged 24.3% year on year in April.
JAPAN: A fall in consumer prices in Tokyo