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METALS-Zinc hits two-week high on shortages, gains in steel prices
November 22, 2017 / 11:52 AM / 22 days ago

METALS-Zinc hits two-week high on shortages, gains in steel prices

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

* Copper also touches highest in two weeks (Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Zinc climbed to its highest in two weeks on Wednesday on persistent concern about shortages and after Chinese steel futures rallied.

The zinc market is tight, with treatment charges (TCs) at low levels, an indication that concentrate supplies are thin, said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale.

“I still think prices need to stay at this level to get more supply. Spot TCs are still low, they haven’t picked up, so there’s a need to incentivise more supply,” he said.

Bhar said the broader market had found support after a correction in recent weeks when lower prices sparked buying by industrial consumers.

“But I‘m not getting carried away, I don’t think we’re going straight back up to the highs again, but we’re at a new equilibrium after all that euphoria during LME Week,” he said.

The index of the main industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) touched the highest in more than four years on Oct. 16, but over the following month shed 4 percent.

* LME ZINC: Benchmark zinc on the LME closed up 1.2 percent at $3,228 a tonne, after touching $3,240.50, its highest since Nov. 7. Prices have also broken above shorter-dated moving averages, sending a buy signal to trend-following funds.

* STEEL RALLY: Zinc, mainly used for galvanizing steel, got support after Chinese steel futures rallied for a third straight session.

Sentiment on zinc was also bullish at the China Lead and Zinc Week gathering in Shenzhen, participants said.

* ZINC DEFICIT: The global zinc market deficit widened to 39,800 tonnes in September from a revised deficit of 38,700 tonnes in August, data showed.

* COPPER: LME three-month copper ended 0.7 percent firmer at $6,954 a tonne after touching a two-week high of $6,957.50.

* CHINA: Analyst Carsten Menke at Julius Baer said investors should be wary after recent weak data from top metals consumer China in metals-intensive sectors such as infrastructure and property.

“Hence, we believe that the outlook for industrial metals demand in general and copper demand in particular is softening rather than strengthening,” he said in a note.

* STRIKE: Southern Copper Corp said one of five unions for its workers in Peru had started an indefinite strike but that the stoppage had not affected normal operations at its mines.

* NICKEL: LME nickel fell 0.2 percent to close at $11,850 a tonne after posting gains of nearly 2 percent on Tuesday.

* ANTAM: Weighing on nickel was news that Indonesia’s state-owned diversified miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (Antam) is targeting a 162 percent jump in nickel ore sales next year.

* PRICES: LME aluminium climbed 1.2 percent to finish at $2,107 a tonne, lead shed 0.7 percent to $2,463 a tonne and tin, untraded in closing rings, was bid up 0.7 percent at $19,400.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Dale Hudson and Edmund Blair)

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