SYDNEY: Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) copper had edged down 0.1 percent to 46,980 yuan ($6,798) a tonne on Thursday. ShFE tin fell 3 percent. Shanghai zinc and lead dropped around 0.5 percent, while ShFE nickel slipped 2.3 percent.

Freeport-McMoRan and other copper miners have halted Indonesian shipments of copper concentrates to abide by a government ban on exports of unprocessed metal ores that took effect on Thursday, a mining ministry official told Reuters.

"You'd think it (Freeport) would have normal service resuming in a few days or weeks," said analyst Daniel Morgan at UBS in Sydney.

"If we don't see some kind of resolution ... in a few weeks' time that is something that could risk the anticipated global copper supply for this year."

Traders told Reuters earlier this week that a short-term halt to exports was unlikely to disrupt markets, with smelters sufficiently stocked over Lunar New Year at month-end.-Reuters