* Stock market falls demonstrate investor caution
* Lead and zinc slide to more than three-month lows
* Nickel hits weakest since June 2016
* LME-SHFE arb: tmsnrt.rs/2oQ5nm2
(Releads, updates with closing prices)
By Jan Harvey
LONDON, April 18 Copper, lead and zinc hit
three-month lows on Tuesday and nickel dropped to its weakest
since June as geopolitical worries from sabre-rattling over
North Korea to a snap UK general election hurt investor appetite
for cyclical assets such as base metals.
"There is still some uncertainty in the market about
geopolitical issues, and there is some risk aversion at this
stage," ABN Amro analyst Casper Burgering said.
"A small deficit (in copper) is expected this year and
demand is very good ... but that hasn't benefited the metal."
Losses across the base metals saw aluminium give up early
strong gains made after traders returned from a four-day Easter
break to news of forthcoming capacity cuts in China. Shanghai
aluminium futures hit a near four-year high on Monday.
"There is still a lot of oversupply in aluminium, and a lot
of stocks, and that oversupply has depressed prices for quite
some time," Burgering said. "Now you see there are initiatives
to cut capacity in China and prices are moving."
* PRICES: London Metal Exchange copper closed 2.1
percent down at $5,573 a tonne, having touched its weakest since
early January at $5,569.
LME Aluminium dipped by 0.9 percent to $1,892 a
tonne, off an earlier one-week high of $1,958.50, while LME lead
was the day's biggest faller with a slide to a
three-month low of $2,098 before closing 6 percent down at
In other metals, LME Zinc closed with a 3.8 percent
decline at $2,525, having touched its lowest since December at
$2,517. Tin ended 0.7 percent down at $19,475 and nickel
finished 4.5 percent lower at $9,310 after hitting its
lowest since June at $9,305.
* FINANCIAL MARKETS: Shares and the dollar both fell as
British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general
election, adding to a lengthening list of uncertainties for
investors already on edge over North Korea and a tight
presidential race in France.
* NORTH KOREA: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured
Japan of American commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear
and missile ambitions after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria
and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.
* INDONESIA EXPORTS: Freeport McMoRan Inc has
received preliminary approval to resume copper concentrate
exports from its Indonesian operation and is now in the process
of obtaining an export permit, a company spokesman said.
* ALUMINIUM CAPACITY: Three new aluminium projects with a
capacity of 2 million tonnes have been halted in Xinjiang in
western China for violating rules aimed at curbing capacity,
state-owned China Securities Times reported on Sunday.
* SPECULATIVE POSITIONING: Hedge funds and other money
managers increased their net long positions in COMEX copper,
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
(Additional reporting by James Regan in Sydney; Editing by Mark
Potter and David Goodman)