LONDON, July 14 (Reuters): Copper headed for a fifth weekly loss on Friday as trade tensions between the United States (US) and China rumbled on, while aluminium hit a three-month low ahead of a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump and Putin are due to meet in Helsinki on Monday and aluminium investors are looking for any hint that US sanctions on Rusal, the world's second-biggest aluminium producer, will be eased or lifted.
"There's an expectation that if you're going to see the sanctions removed from Rusal it may come out of the meeting (between Trump and Putin)," said Nick Snowdon, metals strategist at Deutsche Bank.
Regarding the trade dispute between the United States and China, he said that speculative investors in copper are neutrally positioned, reflecting a cautious attitude amid economic uncertainty.
"In copper you had probably the single largest (long) position ever liquidated (on the Shanghai Futures Exchange) in June. That's done and dusted, so that (trade) uncertainty (now) lends itself to investors staying on the sidelines and prices stabilising."
COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.5 per cent at $6,200 a tonne by 1013 GMT, having hit a one-week low this week. The metal has fallen more than 15 per cent in five weeks of losses.
ALUMINIUM: Aluminium edged up 0.2 per cent to $2,046 a tonne, having hit its lowest since early April at $2,021.50.
ALUMINIUM TECHNICALS: Indicating nearby tightness, cash aluminium traded at a premium of $49.50 a tonne to the three-month price, its highest level since early April.
CHINA TRADE SURPLUS: China's trade surplus with the United States swelled to a record in June, a result that could further inflame a bitter trade dispute with Washington.
CHINA METALS EXPORTS: China's aluminium exports exceeded half a million tonnes for the second time ever in June, while steel exports hit an 11-month high, defying US tariffs.
TALKS: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that the United States and China could reopen talks on trade but only if Beijing is willing to make significant changes.
CHINA GROWTH: Analysts have raised their 2018 growth forecasts for China's economy, a surprising result given an escalating trade war with the United States.
FREEPORT: Copper prices are being pressured by concern about rising supply after Indonesia on Thursday struck an agreement with Freeport-McMoRan Inc and Rio Tinto to buy a controlling stake in the world's second-biggest copper mine, Grasberg.