* Tin at 20-month high on falling inventories
* Nickle hit by potential Philippines mine closures
* Copper gains 0.5 pct to close at $4,842
(Updates with closing prices)
By Clara Denina
LONDON, Sept 29 Lead climbed on Thursday to its
highest since May last year, supported by steadier copper prices
and worries over mine supply, while nickel retreated from a
Three-month lead on the London Metal Exchange closed
up 3.3 percent at $2,062.50 a tonne. The metal hit $2,070.50
earlier, its strongest since May 2015, extending gains from the
previous session, when rising oil prices also lent support.
Global mine shutdowns over the past year and moves by lead
producers to curb output in the face of low prices have
tightened global supplies of the metal used to make batteries.
"Lead, which had underperformed the other base metals for
much of this year, has been catching up in the past couple of
months ... with contraction in lead mine supply and refined
lead," said Caroline Bain, senior commodities economist at
On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the lead contract for
November delivery closed up 2.2 percent at 15,005 yuan
($2,250) a tonne.
China's imports of lead ore and concentrate dropped 10
percent in the first eight months of the year.
The metal was supported by a steadier copper price,
which closed 0.5 percent higher at $4,842 a tonne. More widely
traded copper is usually seen as a benchmark for other metals.
A power outage in South Australia state has halted 300,000
tonnes of annual copper production capacity from BHP Billiton's
Olympic Dam and Oz Minerals' Prominent
Elsewhere, three-month tin climbed above $20,000 a
tonne for the first time in 20 months and was bid at $20,025 at
the close. LME tin inventories have dropped by more than 50
percent over the past four months.
Aluminium closed 0.4 percent higher at $1,671, while
zinc was up 1 percent at $2,356.
Nickel bucked the uptrend across the complex,
retreating from Tuesday's seven-week top of $10,900 a tonne,
when the Philippines said it might suspend 20 more mines for
The Philippines, the world's biggest nickel ore supplier,
has already halted 10 mines, eight of them nickel producers.
Prices closed with a 2.4 percent decline at $10,435.
"For nickel, obviously the market is tightening and
obviously these closures will mean that in six to nine months
down the road refineries could be struggling to find ore,"
Capital Economics' Bain said.
"But the bigger picture remains one of really quite high
stocks, so physical tightness is the market is still some time
Shanghai nickel ended 0.3 percent lower at 81,860
yuan a tonne after touching a seven-week high of 83,610 yuan.
Macquarie said in a note that disruption from the
Philippines to the global market could be capped at between
15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of nickel ore, given the upcoming
monsoon season which limits mining and shipments. Macquarie sees
global nickel supply at 1.9 million tonnes this year.
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
($1 = 6.6705 Chinese yuan)
(Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila; Editing
by David Evans and David Goodman)