August 10, 2017 / 6:29 AM / a year ago

METALS-London metals take a breather on N.Korea tensions

 (Adds comment, detail; updates prices)
    By Melanie Burton
    MELBOURNE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - London copper and aluminium
paused near their highest in more than two years on Thursday,
amid profit-taking in wider markets  as investors fretted about
the simmering tensions between the United States and North
    China aluminium extended gains earlier on Thursday to strike
its highest since 2012, with investors flooding into the market
on prospects that capacity closures in the world's top producer
would tighten supply.
    Industry reform across China's steel and aluminium sectors
that has seen capacity closures has helped drive the rally in
metals, but there were broader reasons for the move, said
analyst Daniel Morgan of UBS in Sydney.
    Synchronous global growth for most of this year, China's
resilient property cycle and the weaker dollar have also given
investors a reason to get involved, he said. 
   "I don't think the rally in metals is due to any one factor."

    * SHFE ALUMINIUM: Shanghai Futures Exchange aluminium
 pared gains to hold nearly steady at 16,060 ($2,414) a
tonne by 0640 GMT, having earlier hit its highest since May 2012
at 16,460 yuan. 
    Open interest flew to a record-high around 900,000 lots and
was up by 50 percent since Aug. 1. 
    * LME ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium hovered near its highest in
more than two years above $2,000 a tonne.
    * Chinese steel futures rose to trade near a 4-1/2-year high
on Thursday, supporting prices of key input materials zinc and
nickel, as investors remained bullish ahead of production cuts
in the world's top steel producer.
    * LME COPPER: LME copper was trading at $6,450 a
tonne, down 0.1 percent. That followed a slightly softer close
the day before, when investors booked profits after prices
marked their highest since December 2014 at $6,515 a tonne.
    * SHFE COPPER: Shfe copper eased by 0.7 percent.
    * LME LEAD: London lead played catch up, rising
nearly 1.2 percent. China research firm Antaike said the start
of environmental inspections in Sichuan province had prompted 60
percent of local lead-zinc mines to shut down for month-long
maintenance. That could mean lower supplies of zinc and lead in
August and September. [nL5N1KV2YU
    * CHINA ALUMINIUM: China's top aluminium foil producers are
preparing a legal defence challenging a preliminary U.S. ruling
on Wednesday that would impose hefty penalties on imports from
the world's top producers, two sources familiar with the matter
    * Premiums for aluminium and zinc in Shanghai bonded zones
rose after the Shanghai prices rallied harder than LME prices,
suggesting the gap for imports had become profitable. Aluminium
premiums rose $7.50 having dropped $12.50 earlier this week. LME
zinc prices rose $10.  <0#BASEBW-SHMET>
    * NICKEL CUTS: First Quantum Minerals Ltd said on
Wednesday it planned to suspend operations at its Ravensthorpe
nickel mine in Western Australia at the beginning of next month
due to persistently weak nickel prices, affecting around 450
employees and contractors.
                                     0544 GMT             
 Three month LME copper                               6456
 Most active ShFE copper                             50780
 Three month LME aluminium                          2026.5
 Most active ShFE aluminium                          16110
 Three month LME zinc                               2947.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                               24385
 Three month LME lead                                 2377
 Most active ShFE lead                               19430
 Three month LME nickel                              10810
 Most active ShFE nickel                             87940
 Three month LME tin                                 20400
 Most active ShFE tin                               147150
 LME/SHFE COPPER              LMESHFCUc3            603.51
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM           LMESHFALc3            407.44
 LME/SHFE ZINC                LMESHFZNc3            992.48
 LME/SHFE LEAD                LMESHFPBc3            212.23
 LME/SHFE NICKEL              LMESHFNIc3           1925.12
($1 = 6.6650 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and
Amrutha Gayathri)
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