BEIJING, July 18 (Reuters) - Shanghai nickel prices rose more than 4% in early trade on Thursday to a one-year high, extending a rally for the metal into a ninth day as speculators continue to pile into the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Nickel, used to make stainless steel and batteries for electric vehicles, is now up more than 30% since the start of this year in Shanghai and is almost 37% higher in London. FUNDAMENTALS * SHANGHAI NICKEL: The most traded August nickel contract on the ShFE rose as much as 4.1% to 114,770 yuan ($16,692.85) a tonne, the highest since July 4, 2018, and stood at 114,090 yuan as of 0155 GMT. * OPEN INTEREST: Market open interest in Shanghai nickel, a measure of liquidity, rose to 604,806 lots on Wednesday, its highest since April, and was up more than 50% since July 5. The trading volume was approaching 800,000 lots, already well above the 30-day average for a full day's trade. * LME NICKEL: Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange shrugged off an early dip to move higher for a seventh session. It gained as much as 1.5% to $14,665 a tonne, its highest since July 3, 2018. * COLUMN: Nickel jumps but fear of Indonesia export ban is unfounded: Andy Home * COPPER: LME copper slipped 0.3% to $5,965 a tonne after U.S.-China trade war concerns returned in the previous session. ShFE copper fell 0.5% to 49,760 yuan a tonne. * TC/RCs: China's top copper smelters meet in the city of Hunchun on Thursday to set their floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for the third quarter. * VEDANTA: Zambia expects nine companies to submit bids for Konkola Copper Mines within weeks, mines minister Richard Musukwa said, even as a court case with Mumbai-listed Vedanta <VDAN.NS< over its ownership was underway. * OTHER METALS: Tin was the second-best performer, adding 1.7% in Shanghai and 1.1% in London. * ALUMINIUM: U.S. aluminium producer Alcoa says global aluminium demand growth for 2019 is estimated to range between 1.25%-2.25% and continues to project a global aluminium deficit of 1 million-1.4 million tonnes this year. * For the top stories in metals and other news, click or MARKETS NEWS * Asian shares wobbled in early Thursday trading as Wall Street stocks dropped on early signs that the U.S.-China trade war could hurt corporate earnings, helping to underpin solid demand for safe-haven U.S. Treasuries. DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0130 Australia Unemployment Rate June 0830 UK Retail Sales MM, YY June 0830 UK Retail Sales Ex-Fuel MM June 1230 US Initial Jobless Claims Weekly 1230 US Philly Fed Business Index July PRICES BASE METALS PRICES 0155 GMT Three month LME copper 5959 Most active ShFE copper 46740 Three month LME aluminium 1839.5 Most active ShFE aluminium 13820 Three month LME zinc 2471.5 Most active ShFE zinc 19380 Three month LME lead 2007.5 Most active ShFE lead 16415 Three month LME nickel 14585 Most active ShFE nickel 114090 Three month LME tin 18090 Most active ShFE tin 135950 ($1 = 6.8754 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin)
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