METALS-Aluminium, nickel prices fall ahead of U.S. inflation data

Sept 14 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminium and nickel prices fell on Tuesday, as investors exercised caution ahead of key U.S. inflation data and reduced exposure after a supply shortage-driven rally in both metals earlier this month.

The most-traded October aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 3% to 22,660 yuan a tonne at 0355 GMT, retreating after eight straight sessions of gains.

ShFE nickel dropped as much as 4.3% to 146,280 yuan a tonne, retreating from its record high of 155,140 yuan a tonne hit two sessions earlier.

ShFE copper fell 1.3% to 70,360 yuan a tonne, zinc declined 1.4% to 22,670 yuan a tonne and lead decreased 1.5% to 14,900 yuan a tonne.

On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark three-month nickel fell 0.4% to $19,640 a tonne, aluminium shed 0.4% to $2,884 a tonne, copper declined 0.3% to $9,533 a tonne and lead was down 0.6% at $2,280 a tonne.

The U.S. data due later in the day would give more clues to the pace of the world’s biggest economy’s stimulus tightening which could affect financial market’s liquidity, the global economic recovery and the dollar - all of which can impact base metals.


* The premium of LME cash lead over the three-month contract CMPB0-3 contracted to $2.30 a tonne, its smallest since July 19, indicating easing tightness in nearby supply.

* Lithium prices have jumped to their highest in more than three years thanks to an upsurge in electric vehicle sales, depleting stocks of the battery material in top consumer China.

* A Chilean union at Albemarle Corp, the world’s top lithium producer, said on Monday it had rejected the company’s latest labor contract offer, leaving workers to continue a walk off that has extended for more than a month.

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* Asia’s share markets were mixed and the dollar held steady, with investors awaiting U.S inflation data for more clues on when the Federal Reserve will taper stimulus.


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Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Rashmi Aich