April 18, 2018 / 2:13 AM / a year ago

METALS-Mounting supply worries push aluminium to 6-1/2-year peak

    MANILA, April 18 (Reuters) - London aluminium futures rose
to their strongest level since 2011 on Wednesday as growing
worries over tighter supply following U.S. sanctions on key
producer Rusal sustained a rally that has lifted the metal by 20
percent this month.
    Global miner Rio Tinto said adjustments may
be made to its 2018 aluminium output following sanctions on its
Russian partner UC Rusal imposed by the United States
earlier this month.
    Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange
climbed as high as $2,445 a tonne in early Asian deals, its
strongest since September 2011. It was little changed at $2,406
by 0155 GMT.
    SHANGHAI ALUMINIUM: On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the
most-traded June aluminium contract was also nearly
flat at 14,865 yuan ($2,365) a tonne, just below a nearly
three-month high reached on Tuesday.
    RIO TINTO: Rio last week declared force majeure on some
customer contracts in light of the sanctions on Rusal, the
world's second biggest aluminum producer. It said it is
reviewing Rusal's 20 percent stake in its Queensland Alumina
refinery, Rusal's supply and offtake arrangements, bauxite sales
to Rusal's refinery in Ireland and offtake contracts for
    RUSAL HALTS ORDERS: Rusal has stopped placing orders with
two logistics firms that ship its exports, in a sign of
deepening problems for the company.
    DIVESTMENT: Rusal may be forced to divest most of its
portfolio of overseas operations if the aluminium giant cannot
restructure them to evade the U.S. sanctions and ensure a flow
of raw materials.
    JAPAN TRADERS: Major Japanese trading houses have asked
Rusal to stop shipping refined aluminium and other products and
are scrambling to secure metal elsewhere, industry sources said.

    CHINA OUTPUT: Amid the prospect of tighter supply elsewhere,
China's aluminium production rose 4 percent from a year ago to
2.78 million tonnes in March as supply from new smelters
outweighed winter output curbs imposed on existing producers.
    ALUMINIUM SHEET: The U.S. Commerce Department said it has
made a preliminary determination that aluminium sheet imports
from China are being subsidized.
    COPPER: Benchmark LME copper was steady at $6,874 a
tonne. In Shanghai, copper slipped 0.2 percent to
50,770 yuan.        
    MARKETS: Asian shares edged higher, tracking gains on Wall
Street, with Chinese equities rising after a surprise move by
the country's central bank to cut banks' reserve requirement.
The dollar clung to modest gains.
    0130  China             House prices                   Mar
    1800  Federal Reserve issues Beige Book on economic
 BASE METALS PRICES                            0155 GMT
 Three month LME copper                            6874
 Most active ShFE                                 50770
 Three month LME                                   2406
 Most active ShFE                                 14865
 Three month LME zinc                            3149.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                            23785
 Three month LME lead                              2337
 Most active ShFE lead                            18105
 Three month LME                                  14215
 Most active ShFE                                103290
 Three month LME tin                              21285
 Most active ShFE tin                            144870
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                                 
 LME/SHFE COPPER         LMESHFCUc3              435.59
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM      LMESHFALc3            -2669.52
 LME/SHFE ZINC           LMESHFZNc3              225.81
 LME/SHFE LEAD           LMESHFPBc3              141.72
 LME/SHFE NICKEL         LMESHFNIc3            -2079.63
($1 = 6.2861 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; editing by Richard Pullin)
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