December 26, 2016 / 8:07 AM / a year ago

METALS-Shanghai metals fall on China growth worries; Nickel sinks

(Updates prices, adds analyst comment)

TOKYO/BEIJING, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Shanghai metals fell across the board on Monday on concerns about demand growth in China as the government continues a crackdown on soaring house prices and pollution.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 1.63 percent at 44,070 yuan ($6,341.74)a tonne at 0700 GMT, while other metals fell more.

Shanghai zinc fell 6.38 percent at close and nickel lost seven percent while lead ended 4.97 percent lower.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is closed for holidays on Monday and Tuesday and will reopen on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

Analysts raised concerns about China’s property market, pointing to moves to limit property speculation in 2017 and a likely drop-off in government efforts to boost demand.

News of a government probe into several futures brokerages over their compliances also weighed on prices.

“A lack of liquidity and a flurry of negative news have caused more panic, triggering heavy selling,” said Li Lin of China Sublime Information Group.

With nickel futures diving below 6,000 yuan per tonne mark, miners would come under greater pressure.

Some analysts expect prices to slide further through the start of 2017, until nickel processing plants start buying when they reopen after the Lunar New Year in early February.

Bloomberg reported on Friday citing a source that Chinese president Xi Jinping told the Communist Party’s financial and economic leading group that the world’s second-largest economy could tolerate growth lower than 6.5 percent.

China’s crackdown on exhaust-spewing factories including steel mills, textile and cement factories and coal-fired power plants will also ripple across bulk commodity markets into 2017.

However, copper, which is widely used in power and construction, is up around 16 percent this year and on track for its largest annual rise since 2010.

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 ($1 = 6.9485 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Meng Meng and Xu Muyu in Beijing; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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