October 5, 2018 / 6:58 AM / 2 months ago

METALS-London aluminium steady, eyes biggest weekly gain since April

(Adds comments, details, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Oct 5 (Reuters) - London aluminium held steady on Friday as worries over an alumina shortage stoked expectations of cost inflation, sending prices towards the biggest weekly gain in nearly six months.

FUNDAMENTALS

* ALUMINIUM: London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminium was little changed at $2,168.50 a tonne, down just 0.1 percent after hitting its loftiest since June at $2,267 the session before. Prices were on track for a 5.8 percent weekly rise, the biggest since April.

* ALUMINIUM: The Brazilian state of Para on Thursday said it was surprised when Norsk Hydro decided a day earlier to halt operations at Alunorte, the world’s largest alumina refinery, and asked for a report explaining the decision.

* COPPER: Other metals came under pressure from a stronger dollar. LME copper eased by 1.2 percent to $6,212.50 a tonne by 0638 GMT, after the U.S. currency was boosted by solid demand for Treasuries following a strong payrolls report.

* ZINC: LME zinc fell 1.9 percent. A trader said there was small consumer buying coming in to offer support.

* U.S. ECONOMY: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength, which should continue to underpin economic growth.

* SHFE: The Shanghai Futures Exchange remains closed for the Golden Week holiday and will reopen on Monday. Trade is expected to be lighter than usual next week as the year’s biggest industry event, LME Week, begins in London.

* OUTLOOK: Uncertainty about how metals demand will be hit by trade wars, rising U.S. interest rates and a slowdown in China are weighing on industrial metals prices, submerging signals pointing to potential shortages.

* LITHIUM: Chile’s antitrust court approved on Thursday a deal struck between Chilean regulators and Tianqi, allowing the Chinese miner to purchase a nearly one-quarter stake in lithium producer SQM

* ALUMINIUM: Demand for automotive aluminium is set to more than double by 2025, driven by surging growth in Asia, a senior executive at Novelis Inc, the world’s largest maker of rolled aluminium products, said on Thursday.

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

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares wobbled on Friday after benchmark U.S. Treasury yields surged to a fresh seven-year high and strong economic data fanned concerns about inflation and the risk of faster-than-expected interest rate rises.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

1230 U.S. Nonfarm payrolls Sep

1230 U.S. Unemployment rate Sep

1230 U.S. International trade Aug

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

Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin and Subhranshu Sahu

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