August 29, 2019 / 5:09 AM / 22 days ago

METALS-Nickel rises on signs of near-term tight supply

(Updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Nickel prices rose on Thursday amid signs of near-term tight supply on the London Metal Exchange (LME), while other base metals moved in tight ranges as the demand outlook remained clouded by the U.S.-China trade dispute.

LME nickel, which has jumped nearly 50% this year amid worries about supply disruption from top producer Indonesia, advanced 0.5% by 0718 GMT, while Shanghai nickel (ShFE) rose 1.8%.

The premiums of LME cash nickel over the three-month contract MNI0-3 rose to a decade-high of $97 a tonne, indicating a shortage of nearby supply. One party holds 50% to 80% of available LME inventories, data showed. <0#LME-WHL>

"Barring the importance of Indonesia in global nickel supply chain, we are of the view that nickel's recent price action that defies the performance of all other base metals is overdone," said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities in a note.

FUNDAMENTALS

* NICKEL STOCKS: Nickel stocks in LME-approved warehouses have picked up slightly, and inventories in warehouses tracked by ShFE rose 2.6% to 29,771 tonnes as of Aug. 23 from a week earlier, the latest data showed. MNISTX-TOTAL SNI-TOTAL-W

* MCC NICKEL: A battery nickel processing plant owned by Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC) that spilled mine waste into Papua New Guinea's Basamuk Bay faces compensation claims and possible closure.

* COPPER: LME three-month copper rose 0.4% to $5,713 a tonne, while the most-traded copper contract on ShFE eased 0.1% to 46,550 yuan ($6,562.99) a tonne.

* OTHER PRICES: London aluminium was unchanged, zinc increased 0.7% and lead edged up 0.1%. Shanghai aluminium decreased 0.5% and tin rose 0.2%.

* YUAN: China's yuan extended losses for the 11th day on Thursday, knocked down by corporate demand for dollars ahead of a new tariffs to be implemented. A weaker yuan may make U.S.-priced metals more expensive for Chinese buyers.

* TARIFFS: The Trump administration on Wednesday made official its extra 5% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports and set collection dates of Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, prompting hundreds of U.S. companies to warn of price hikes.

* LYNAS: Australian rare earths producer Lynas Corp posted a 50% jump in annual profit on Thursday on record production, and said it is still to decide on a site for a planned heavy rare earths processing plant.

* LITHIUM: China's biggest lithium producer, Ganfeng Lithium Co,, saw its first-half profits plunge 59% as rising supply of the material used in batteries for electric cars caused a slump in prices.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 7.0928 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Richard Pullin and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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