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METALS-ShFE aluminium slips from 9-year high on profit-taking

(Recasts, updates prices)

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Aluminium fell on Thursday on profit-taking after prices surged to over a nine-year high in Shanghai on strong demand and hopes for a U.S. stimulus deal and early roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.

The most-traded January aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 3.9% to 16,170 yuan ($2,465.80) a tonne, slipping from 16,925 yuan a tonne hit in the previous session, its highest since October 2011.

Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange fell 1% to $2,034.50 a tonne by 0738 GMT, having hit its highest since October 2018 on Wednesday at $2,080 a tonne.

“Demand is there and sentiment is there. We are now having trillions of dollars injected into economy,” said a Singapore-based metals trader.

“(But) if you ask me whether this trend will continue, or whether the stimulus and optimism have been priced in... I am not bullish,” said the trader, noting that inventories usually rise around China’s lunar new year holiday, which will be in February next year.

Britain approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday and top U.S. health officials announced plans to begin vaccinating Americans as early as mid-December, while U.S. lawmakers were discussing a new stimulus package deal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* ShFE aluminium stocks AL-STX-SGH were last trading at 220,373 tonnes, a 59% drop from March highs, while social inventories of the metal in China SMM-ALU-CON hovered near their lowest since January 2017 at 600,000 tonnes, latest SMM data showed.

* Antaike saw the Chinese aluminium market in a slight deficit this year, having previously projected a surplus.

* ShFE copper fell 0.9% to 56,870 yuan a tonne, while LME copper dipped 0.2% to $7,656.50 a tonne. LME zinc rose 0.1% to $2,751 a tonne while ShFE nickel fell 2% to 117,550 yuan a tonne.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.5577 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; additional reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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