June 28, 2018 / 11:08 AM / 3 months ago

METALS-China smelter cuts boost zinc price

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

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Adds official prices)

By Zandi Shabalala

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - Zinc rose on Thursday, edging further away from 10-month lows, after reports that top Chinese smelters planned to cut output by 10 percent to address low prices and treatment charges of the metal used to galvanise steel.

Benchmark zinc on the London Metal Exchange traded 0.8 percent higher at $2,899 per tonne in official trading rings. It touched a low of $2,815 on Tuesday, a level last seen in August 2017 and prices are down about 12 percent this year.

“A cut in output in one of the major consuming countries could have a significant impact and easily explains why zinc is moving against the base metals pack,” said Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig.

“Some companies during the first half of this year announced plans to increase output and that has weighed a little bit on the zinc price.”

CHINA SMELTERS: China’s top zinc smelters plan to cut zinc output by 10 percent after holding a meeting in Shaanxi province, two sources briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

TREATMENT CHARGERS: The zinc industry agreed a 15 percent drop in annual zinc processing fees, Nystar said in May, squeezing revenues for smelters.

SPREADS: The premium of cash to three month zinc CMZN0-3 eased to $42.20, edging further away from October highs touched on Friday and easing concerns over looming supply tightness.

ZINC INVENTORIES: On-warrant zinc stocks in LME-registered warehouses fell by 15,175 tonnes to 222,650 tonnes, data showed on Thursday, after fresh cancellations in New Orleans. Total stocks inched 25 tonnes lower to 249,325 tonnes.

SUPPLY: Australia’s New Century Resources is on track to turn a giant tailings dam into the world’s fifth-biggest source of zinc as it defies doubters to make its first shipment in August, the mineral processor’s managing director said.

COPPER: China’s top copper smelters on Thursday failed to set minimum treatment and refining charges for copper concentrate in the third quarter of 2018, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

LME copper traded 0.7 percent lower at $6,646 per tonne in official rings, its lowest since April 4.

DOLLAR: A slightly strong dollar also weighed on most commodities on Thursday. Dollar-denominated metals become more expensive for non-U.S. firms when the currency rises. The dollar index against a basket of currencies hit its highest in nearly a year.

Conflicting signals about developments in the trade row between Washington and its main trading partners prompted buying of the greenback.

PRICES: Aluminium was bid 1 percent lower at $2,153 per tonne, lead was bid down 0.9 percent to $2,412, tin inched 1 percent lower to $19,655, while nickel was bid down 0.7 percent at $14,775.

Additional reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Jon Boyle and Alexandra Hudson

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