Trafigura plans to take large amounts of LME copper -sources

By Pratima Desai

LONDON (Reuters) - Commodity trader Trafigura is planning to take large amounts of copper from London Metal Exchange registered warehouses, two people familiar with the matter said, adding that the metal was likely to remain in Europe.

Copper stocks in LME registered warehouses stand at 83,325 tonnes are already low. Cancelled warrants - metal earmarked for delivery - stand at 31.2% or 26,000 tonnes. This compares with 12% on Jan. 3.

Most of the cancelled warrants - 20,600 according to the latest data from the LME - are in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Trafigura declined to comment on whether it was behind the cancellations, but said: "In an environment of constrained supply, reflected by high copper benchmarks in Europe, we are ensuring we can continue to supply our customers with the metals they need."

The cancellations and large holdings of copper warrants and cash contracts are fuelling some concern about supplies on the LME market.

This has narrowed the discount for the cash against the three-month copper contract to around $8 a tonne from $26 a tonne on Jan. 9.

Benchmark copper prices on the LME touched $9,279 on Tuesday for their highest since June 16 and a gain of nearly 25% since the end of September.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Tomasz Janowski)