October 26, 2018 / 11:03 AM / 22 days ago

METALS-Copper slides as equity markets rout rattles investors

* LME copper stocks at lowest in nearly 13 years

* Global equities head for worst week in more than 5 years

* Nickel hits lowest since Dec, aluminium lowest since last August (Adds closing prices, details)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Copper fell 1 percent on Friday as global equities headed for their worst week in more than five years, overshadowing a supply shortage of the metal building in the market.

Available London Metal Exchange copper inventories fell to their lowest in nearly 13 years, while cash copper traded at its highest premium to the three-month future in nearly three years. CMCU0-3

Still, investors are spooked about Sino-U.S. trade frictions, a mixed bag of U.S. corporate earnings, Federal Reserve rate increases and an Italian budget dispute.

Aluminium hit its lowest in more than a year while nickel slumped to its weakest since late December. Higher than expected U.S. GDP data was not enough to assuage investor nerves.

"When you've had an equity market selloff like we've had in the past few weeks, metals are not going to benefit," said Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.

"There should be a relief rally in base (metals) for the year-end as Chinese economic data improves ... because of stimulus ... but a lot depends on financial market conditions stabilising," Hamilton added, referring to policy measures in China designed to stimulate the economy.

* COPPER PRICE: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended down 1.1 percent at $6,160 a tonne, clocking its fourth weekly drop in five.

* SUPPLY: Miner and commodities trader Glencore on Friday reported a 12 percent rise in copper production so far this year. Other major miners reporting this month - BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto - have signalled lower copper output.

* OPEN INTEREST: Market open interest on Shanghai copper fell to 495.476 lots on Thursday, the lowest since Feb. 9, 2017, in a sign that money is leaving the market.

* OTHER METALS: LME nickel hit its weakest since late December at $11,810 and ended down 2.1 percent at $11,900, while aluminium hit its weakest since last August at $1,975 but closed up 0.2 percent at $1,998.

"Aluminium production appears to be being cut back in China due to the current weak margins," Commerzbank analysts said in a note. "Lower production, which should result in lower Chinese exports, is likely to shore up aluminium prices. The LME (price) has nonetheless dipped below $2,000 per tonne."

* STOCKS: Shanghai Futures Exchange lead inventories PB-STX-SGH plunged 44.6 percent from a week earlier to 6,139 tonnes, the exchange said on Friday, the lowest since January 2016.

* OTHER METALS: Lead ended down 0.7 percent at $1,998, zinc closed up 0.6 percent at $2,652, while tin ended flat at $19,300.

Additional reporting by Tom Daly Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Holmes

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