April 24, 2018 / 10:43 AM / 3 months ago

METALS-Aluminium extends price fall on U.S. sanctions reprieve

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

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Adds closing prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Aluminium hit its lowest in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, extending declines from the previous day after Washington gave U.S. companies more time to comply with sanctions on Russian producer Rusal and hinted at further sanctions relief.

The U.S. Treasury Department gave Americans until Oct. 23, instead of June 5, to wind down business with Rusal and said it would consider lifting sanctions if Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska ceded control of the company.

“We should be getting used to the fact that Trump has a lot of bark and less bite. We’ve seen it with a lot of policies. He introduces them, markets react, then he backtracks or nothing comes of it or they get delayed,” said William Adams, head of research at Fastmarkets.

“Aluminium is going to remain volatile depending on how the sanctions play out, but at the end of the day it will return to the range either side of $2,200 until we see evidence of stronger economic growth.”

Aluminium rallied to its highest since mid-2011 last week on fears that the global market could face shortages because of the sanctions on Rusal, a company that last year accounted for more than 6 percent of global aluminium output.

* LME ALUMINIUM: Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange ended down 3 percent at $2,227 a tonne, having touched $2,200, its lowest since April 11. The price had dropped by 7.1 percent on Monday, in its biggest one-day decline in eight years.

* ALUMINIUM DEMAND: Consumption of aluminium in China, the world’s top user, will increase by 7-9 percent this year and next, an executive at Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) said.

* NICKEL PRICE: Nickel closed down 1.9 percent at $13,990 a tonne after a 3.8 percent fall on Monday. The metal hit a three-year high on April 19 on fears that sanctions might be extended to major producer Nornickel, a company linked with both Rusal and Deripaska.

* NICKEL EXPORTS: The Philippines’ top nickel ore producer, Nickel Asia Corp, said its 2018 export plans remain unchanged despite the government’s intention to limit mining areas.

* COPPER CHILE: The union at BHP’s Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, said it had made little progress in reaching an early contract deal with management.

* NICKEL, COBALT: Cuba forecasts nickel plus cobalt sulfide production will exceed 50,000 tonnes this year even as prices rise.

* OTHER METALS: Copper ended up 1 percent at $7,013 a tonne, zinc ended down 0.5 percent at $3,212, lead ended down 0.4 percent at $2,310 and tin closed up 0.2 percent at $21,100.

Additional reporting by Tom Daly Editing by David Goodman and Alexandra Hudson

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