June 17, 2019 / 4:59 AM / a month ago

METALS-Nickel rises on supply fears but strong dollar caps gains

(Updates prices, adds details)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, June 17 (Reuters) - Nickel prices in London rose on Monday as mining disruptions in key producer Indonesia sparked concerns about supply of the input material for stainless steel.

Widespread flooding in Indonesia’s nickel hub on the island of Sulawesi has halted some mining operations in Indonesia, an official with the country’s Nickel Miners Association said on Friday.

Three-month nickel in London rose as much as 1.1% to $12,000 a tonne, but eased later in the session to $11,915 by 0758 GMT. Other base metals moved mixed, pressured by a steady U.S. dollar that is holding around a two-week high.

Dollar-denominated metals become more expensive to imports using other currencies when the dollar strengthens.

Shanghai nickel contract fell 0.7% to 99,430 yuan ($14,359.57) a tonne. Shanghai nickel spot premiums NI-BPCIF-SHMET jumped to $330 a tonne on Friday, its highest since January 2018.

FUNDAMENTALS

* PRICES: Benchmark copper eased 0.1% to $5,817 a tonne, while aluminium and zinc also declined. Lead and tin edged up slightly.

* STRIKE: More than 3,000 unionized workers at Codelco’s Chuquicamata copper mine walked off the job early Friday morning after failing to reach a labour deal earlier this week with Codelco.

* CHINA COPPER: China’s refined copper output fell by 5.2% year-on-year and 3.9% month-on-month to 711,000 tonnes in May, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

* CHINA: China’s economy flashed more warning signs in May as the United States ramped up trade pressure, with industrial output growth unexpectedly slowing to a more than 17-year low and investment cooling, underlining a need for more stimulus.

* “Despite the negative impact from the prolonged U.S.-China disputes, China has exhibited discipline in stimulating the economy. It’s possible that China is preparing for a worst case where U.S.-China trade wars deteriorate further,” said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities in a note.

* ZINC: Shanghai zinc prices fell 1.2% to 19,900 yuan a tonne, a one-week low, after data showed zinc inventories in warehouses tracked by ShFE jumped 32% in two weeks to 79,945 tonnes ZN-STX-SGH.

* RARE EARTH: China’s state planner said it will roll out rare earth policies as soon as possible, while state-run Chinese media reported that U.S. military equipment firms might face Chinese rare earths supply restrictions.

* Meanwhile, rare earth developers in Australia are edging closer to signing deals with new customers that would drive forward their projects amid mounting global supply concerns.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

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 = 6.9243 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Rashmi Aich

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