July 4, 2017 / 10:29 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Nickel falls on abundant supplies, mine closure prospects fade

* LME/ShFE arb - tmsnrt.rs/2oQ5nm2 (Updates with closing prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - Nickel prices fell on Tuesday on expectations of plentiful supply from Indonesia and the Philippines, while industrial metals were mostly lower as investors took profits following a recent rally.

Trade was thin as U.S. markets were closed for the Independence Day holiday. “Volumes are very low so markets are easily moved,” a trader said.

Metals had been bolstered on Monday by strong manufacturing data in China, but Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain said broader data pointed to a slowdown in Chinese growth.

“This optimism is going to fade,” she said.

NICKEL: Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange closed down 2.2 percent at $9,180 a tonne. The stainless steel ingredient had gained nearly 9 percent since mid-June.

NICKEL TECHNICALS: Nickel briefly fell below its 50-day moving average. Support was at $9,100 and $9,005-$9,025, close to a recent low, brokers Marex Spectron said in a note.

FUNDAMENTALS: Capital Economics’ Bain said supplies looked solid as Indonesia exported more ore and fears of mine closures in the Philippines faded. Chinese stainless steel production, the main source of nickel demand, had also fallen, she said.

INDONESIA EXPORTS: Indonesia issued recommendations that will allow PT Ceria Nugraha Indotama to export 2.3 million tonnes of nickel ore through to July 2018.

NEW CALEDONIA: Brazil’s Vale said it was reassessing its loss-making New Caledonian nickel operations.

COPPER: LME copper ended down 0.6 percent at $5,892 a tonne, eating into gains of more than 5 percent since mid-June.

COPPER STOCKS: Prices were supported by a fall in on-warrant stockpiles available to the market at LME warehouses to 176,125 tonnes, ending two days of large stock increases. MCUSTX-TOTAL

COPPER STRIKES: Chile’s Antofagasta was facing potential strikes at two mines with combined annual production of 160,000 tonnes.

TIN STOCKS: At 1,690 tonnes, stocks of tin in LME warehouses are at their lowest since the 1980s. MSNSTX-TOTAL Benchmark tin finished 1 percent lower at $19,950 a tonne.

TIN SPREAD: Falling stocks helped push the premium of cash tin over the three-month price to a high of $315 a tonne, the largest since September 2015 and indicating tight nearby supply. MSN0-3

MARKETS: Global equities fell but the dollar held onto Monday’s strong gains and oil prices rose for a ninth day.

PRICES: Three-month aluminium ended up $1 at $1,928 a tonne and zinc closed 0.4 percent lower at $2,793 a tonne. Lead did not trade but was bid down 1.6 percent at $2,299 a tonne.

Additional reporting by James Regan; Editing by Louise Heavens and Susan Thomas

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