July 22, 2019 / 2:26 AM / a month ago

METALS-Nickel retreats after 2 weeks of strong gains

SINGAPORE, July 22 (Reuters) - Nickel prices fell on Monday as a buying spree that sent the metal used mostly in making stainless steel to its highest in more than a year, started to lose steam.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 1.2% to $14,555 a tonne, while the most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 2.3% to 114,920 yuan ($16,708.35) a tonne.

LME nickel prices on Thursday touched $15,115, their highest since June 2018 and up a massive 20% in just two weeks, before retreating on Friday.

“After supply-side issues and strong Chinese demand saw the 3-month future contract come close to breaking the key $15,000/tonne level, buying eased up on Friday after investors started to question whether these drivers justified the size and speed of the rally,” ANZ said in a note on Monday.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHINA: China will further ease its economic policy to deal with a prolonged and costly trade war with the United States, but it would save more aggressive measures as last resorts should the dispute get uglier, policy sources say.

* ANGLO AMERICAN: Anglo American said on Friday it had submitted an environmental impact study for a $3 billion project seeking to maintain output from its flagship Los Bronces copper mine in Chile.

* RARE EARTHS: Australian rare earths developer Northern Minerals said on Monday it had raised A$30 million ($21 million) from shareholders to fund expansion at its Browns Range project after trade tensions refocused interest in the industry.

* PRICES: Benchmark copper edged up 0.2%, aluminium fell 0.2% and lead declined 0.8%. In Shanghai, copper rose 0.3%, while aluminium eased 0.4% and zinc decreased 1.1%.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asia stocks eased as investors reduced expectations of an aggressive interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, while heightened Middle East tensions following an Iranian seizure of a British tanker lifted crude oil prices.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

No major data/events expected on Monday

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 1.4198 Australian dollars) ($1 = 6.8780 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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