Copper falls after US rate decision

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    Copper has fallen to its lowest for a week as the US Federal Reserve's decision not to raise rates yet left traders on edge, outweighing reports of potential supply disruptions.

    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended down 2.7 per cent at $US5,254 a tonne, having hit its lowest since September 8 at $US5,233.

    It struck an eight-week high on Thursday on expected supply hitches in Chile.

    European and US equities headed lower on Friday after the Fed's move late Thursday to keep rates unchanged, a decision driven by worries about the global economy, financial market volatility and sluggish inflation at home.

    The US central bank left open the possibility of tightening policy modestly later this year, but more economists are now wondering whether it will move at all.

    "Overall sentiment in markets (is poor) with equities down. We'll probably be steady around current levels for the next couple of months," said Jens Pederson, analyst at Danske Bank.

    "Towards the beginning of next year we expect prices to recover, considering the rebalancing of upstream supplies going back to the (supply cut) headline from Glencore," he said.

    Prompting supply concerns Friday, Indonesian officials said Newmont Mining's copper export permit will not be renewed unless it submits an update on plans to develop a domestic smelter to the government.

    Also, the tsunami that hit Chile after this week's earthquake flooded a warehouse for copper concentrate from the Caserones mine.

    Hopes for a revival in copper demand are pinned on stimulus from top consumer China feeding into the economy.

    Home prices in China rose in August for a fourth month in a row but analysts do not expect a property market turnaround any time soon.

    Tin was last bid down 2.3 per cent at $US15,150, having earlier touched its lowest since September 8 at $US14,850.

    A trader said more Indonesian smelters had been granted government clearance to resume exports.

    "They suddenly got their licences at the back end of last week so they sold. That's why the market has run out of steam," he said.

    Nickel ended down 3.00 per cent at $US9,700 a tonne, having hit its lowest since September 8 at $US9,675. Slow demand improvement in China is feeding a weak downward trend in LME inventories.

    Aluminium ended down 0.5 per cent at $US1,624 a tonne, lead closed down 1.7 per cent at $US1,693.50 while zinc closed down 2.2 per cent at $US1,688 a tonne.

    Substantial amounts of zinc could be released onto world markets as Glencore implements a plan to liquidate some of its commodity inventories to help pay off debt.

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