April 27, 2018 / 10:36 AM / 7 months ago

METALS-Aluminium heads for biggest weekly drop since 2011

* Aluminium falls as supply fears abate

* LME/ShFE arb: bit.ly/2wZSAEz

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with closing prices)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Aluminium fell on Friday after sources said sanctions-hit Russian producer Rusal will overhaul its management structure to restore shipments, further dampening fears of a supply shortfall.

The metal was set for its biggest weekly drop in seven years as investors scaled back bets that the sanctions, which sent aluminium to its highest since 2011 last week, would hurt availability.

It fell sharply from its April 19 peak after the United States on Monday gave American customers of Rusal more time to comply with sanctions, though it rebounded as the week wore on.

“It’s a bit of a rollercoaster but the clear message is that both sides are trying to work out a way to avoid sanctions on Rusal,” said Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain.

“We had signs of that from the U.S. side this week, and now it looks as though Russia (and) Rusal are also making efforts to at least soften the blow.”

This month’s sharp price swings still leave the metal up nearly 12 percent in April, its biggest monthly rise in nearly eight years.

LME ALUMINUM: Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange closed 2.2 percent down at $2,225 a tonne. It has fallen more than 9 percent this week.

RUSAL: The world’s second-biggest aluminium producer will overhaul its board and management in the hope of persuading the United States to lift sanctions, but it may be forced to suspend aluminium exports for good if the plan fails, sources close to the company said.

ALUMINIUM INVENTORIES: On-warrant aluminium stocks - those not earmarked for delivery and available to the market - rose by 12,475 tonnes to 930,125 tonnes, exchange data showed on Friday.

ALUMINIUM TECHNICALS: A break in aluminium prices below support at $2,260 could cause a loss to $2,195, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

COLUMN: U.S. sanctions on Rusal shatter aluminium’s supply chain: Andy Home

COPPER: Industrial metals bellwether copper did not trade at the close but was bid down 2.4 percent at $6,796 a tonne, suffering from the impact of a firmer dollar, which makes metals expensive for holders of other currencies

ESCONDIDA: Chile’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, said on Thursday that early contract talks with its workers’ union ended without an agreement, setting the stage for legally scheduled negotiations to begin in June.

OTHER METALS: LME zinc ended 0.5 percent down at $3,121 a tonne, lead finished 0.4 percent up at $2,346, nickel was bid down 2.3 percent at $13,875 and tin closed with a 2.3 percent decline at $20,900.

Additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala and Peter Hobson in London and Tom Daly in Beijing Editing by William Maclean and David Goodman

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