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METALS-China demand concern keeps nickel near 10-month low
April 26, 2017 / 11:12 AM / 8 months ago

METALS-China demand concern keeps nickel near 10-month low

* BHP cuts copper output guidance

* LME aluminium stocks at lowest since 2008

* LME/SHFe arb: tmsnrt.rs/2oQ5nm2 (Adds official prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Nickel prices slid on Wednesday towards the 10-month lows hit earlier this week on worries about demand from top consumer China after its trade data showed falling imports of the metal, which is used to make stainless steel.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange traded at an unchanged $9,320 a tonne in official rings. Prices fell to $9,230 a tonne on Tuesday, their lowest since June last year.

But John Meyer, analyst at SP Angel said he expected nickel to be supported by concern about supplies of ore from the Philippines, which last month ordered the closure of more than half the nation’s mines to protect water resources.

However, he said, “there is still a lot of stock for the market to burn.”

NICKEL STOCKS: Stock of nickel in LME warehouses at 379,338 tonnes account for about 20 percent of global consumption estimated at around 2 million tonnes this year. Traders say off-exchange inventories could also amount to around 400,000 tonnes.

IMPORTS: China’s imports of nickel between Jan-March at 43,382 tonnes were down 60 percent from the same period last year.

ALUMINIUM: Stocks of aluminium in LME warehouses have fallen below 1.66 million tonnes to their lowest since 2008. Aluminium firmed to $1,963.50 a tonne from Tuesday’s close at $1,963, not far from the 27-month high of $1,981 hit in March.

LEAD: A large holding -- between 40 and 49 percent of lead inventories and cash contracts -- is adding to worries about supplies on the LME market created by more than 50 percent of warrants earmarked for delivery. <0#LME-WHC> MPBSTX-TOTAL

PRODUCTION: BHP Billiton, cut its full-year production guidance for copper output by 17 percent to a range of 1.33 million to 1.36 million tonnes.

CHINA: The pace of expansion in China’s manufacturing sector likely slowed in April, a Reuters poll showed, as factory-gate price lost steam and authorities moved to tackle risks in the property market and credit growth.

DOLLAR: Industrial metals overall are under pressure from a higher U.S. currency that could potentially weaken demand. When the dollar gains in value it makes commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

PRICES: Copper was bid down at $5,704 a tonne from Tuesday’s close at $5,706, zinc rose 0.7 percent to $2,623 and lead gained 0.7 percent to $2,185. Tin traded up 0.8 percent to $19,780.

EQUITIES: World stocks hit a record high after strong earnings and the prospect of tax cuts for corporate America pushed U.S. shares to stratospheric levels.

Editing by Edmund Blair and David Evans

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