Aluminium set for big weekly fall in volatile market

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LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - Aluminium rose on Friday but was down nearly 10% this week amid heightened market volatility after uncertainty about exports from Russia pushed prices to record highs.

Russia produces around 6% of the world's aluminium and is a major producer of copper and nickel, precious metals, energy and crops. read more

Since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, many banks and shippers stopped handling Russian commodities, creating a supply shock that sent prices sharply higher. read more

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Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.9% at $3,493 a tonne at 1707 GMT.

The metal, used in transport, construction and packaging, see-sawed from around $3,300 on Feb. 23 to $4,073.50 on Monday and back to $3,300 on Wednesday.

Aluminium is still up around 25% this year after rising 42% in 2021, when a supply deficit began to form.

"There is across commodities markets some confusion about where prices should be," said WisdomTree analyst Nitesh Shah. "If this (war in Ukraine) is a protracted conflict, a lot more supply will probably get hurt."

NICKEL: Trading on the LME remained suspended after a price surge earlier this week. read more

SUPPLY: The jump in energy and coal prices could constrain output of energy-intensive aluminium smelters in Europe and Asia, analysts at ANZ said, worsening supply shortages.

INVENTORIES: Stocks of aluminium in LME-registered warehouses have fallen to 755,950 tonnes from almost 2 million tonnes a year earlier.

PREMIUMS: Undersupply has pushed duty-paid physical premiums over the LME price sharply higher to $506 a tonne in Europe and $847 a tonne in the United States .

RUSSIA: Vladimir Putin said there had been some progress in talks with Ukraine, but provided no details as Russian forces bearing down on Kyiv appeared to be regrouping near the Ukrainian capital. read more

CHINA: Copper stocks in Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) warehouses fell this week and Chinese copper output rose in February.

NICKEL: About 12 mines in the Philippines should begin commercial operations this year, mostly nickel projects, the local industry regulator said.

METALS PRICES: LME copper was up 0.4% at $10,159 a tonne, but down around 5% this week.

Zinc fell 1.3% to $3,819.50 and was about 6% down this week.

Lead slipped 1.2% to $2,328.50, down 5% this week.

Tin rose 1.2% to $44,250 but was set for a 7% weekly loss.

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Reporting by Peter Hobson Additional reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Shinjini Ganguli

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