Copper, metals fall

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    LONDON- Copper and most other industrial metals fell as the killing of a top Iranian commander by the United States sent shockwaves through markets, pushing oil prices sharply higher.

    Investors rushed to safe-haven assets such as gold and stock markets fell as Iran said it would seek revenge.

    Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) ended down 1 percent at $6,129.50 a ton after touching its lowest since Dec. 11 at $6,088.50.

    The metal used in power and construction has fallen around 1.5 percent this week, breaking a run of six weekly gains that had lifted prices to seven-month highs.

    “Sentiment has been broken just a few days into the new year,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. “Copper is under pressure from the potential impact on growth of an escalation (between the United States and Iran).”

    The confrontation could worsen friction between Washington and Beijing, already locked in a damaging trade dispute, while higher oil prices would dampen economic activity, potentially weakening metals demand, Hansen said.

    China’s foreign ministry said on Friday it consistently opposes the use of force in international relations.

    The report comes after metals prices were boosted by a reduction in Chinese bank reserve requirements and data which showed China’s factory activity was not collapsing.

    China is the world’s largest consumer of metals.

    All were heading for weekly losses aside from aluminum, which was roughly flat. – Reuters