* London Metal Exchange nickel and tin at record highs on Wednesday, with lead just short of all-time peak hit the previous day. * Nickel MNI3=LX trades at $40,000 a tonne at 0425 GMT in electronic dealing, versus $39,900 at Tuesday's close. * "Nickel is a very simple story -- all the disruptions to new projects have delayed a fresh wave of production," Gerard Burg, minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank said. * "Demand for stainless steel remains strong and if stock levels continue to fall, there is potential for even higher prices. We are forecasting $35,000 a tonne for the year and there is every possibility that we are being pessimistic." * Tin MSN3=LX at a fresh record high of $13,550 in electronic trading, up $150. Supported as LME stocks fall below 10,000 tonnes for the first time since November 2005. <LME/STX1> * Lead MPB3 loses $5 at $1,820/1,850, after touching record high of $1,840 on Tuesday. Supported by continuing force majeure at Xstrata's XTA.L Mt. Isa lead mine in Australia. * Copper MCU3 $15 lower at $5,715/5,735. * Many investors remain sidelined due to week-long closure of the Shanghai Futures Exchange for Lunar New Year. * Zinc MZN3 down $20 at $3,305/3,325. * Aluminium MAL3 down $5 at $2,740/2,750.