October 30, 2018 / 11:22 AM / 18 days ago

METALS-Aluminium hits 14-month low on renewed U.S.-China trade tension

* Aluminium touches lowest since August 2017

* Lead weakens after inventories rise

* LME copper stocks reach lowest since July 2008

* Nickel steady after previous session’s 10-month low (Adds closing prices, zinc spread)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Aluminium slumped to its lowest in more than a year, with other base metals also falling on Tuesday, on fresh concerns that a U.S.-China trade war was dampening global growth.

Selling pressure intensified after U.S. President Donald Trump warned he had billions of dollars of new tariffs ready to go if a trade deal with China was not possible.

“Comments overnight added further fuel to the fire in terms of the risk of further escalation and downside risk to Chinese growth,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Nicholas Snowdon in London.

China is the biggest consumer of industrial metals, accounting for more than half of global aluminium demand.

The world’s biggest mining company BHP Billiton on Tuesday trimmed its expectations of global growth for next year and 2020, citing the U.S.-China trade conflict.

Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are expected to attend next month’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, where they could meet.

“The concern is that if things don’t pan out in a positive way with Xi and Trump meeting, then we could be taking a further step in terms of deteriorating trade relations,” Snowdon added.

Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange ended 0.8 percent lower at $1,967 a tonne, its weakest since August 2017.

* COPPER: LME copper dropped 2.1 percent to $6,032 a tonne, its lowest since Sept. 18.

* COPPER INVENTORIES: LME copper stocks MCUSTX-TOTAL slid to their lowest since July 2008, having slumped 64 percent since peaking in late March.

“We’re getting down to multi-year lows in LME stock levels and at some point the market will have to shift away from macro concerns and back towards the significant tightening in the micro market,” Snowdon said.

* COPPER PREMIUMS: The premium of the LME copper cash contract over the three-month contract CMCU0-3 was last at $26 a tonne, having hit a three-year high of $47 on Friday in a sign of immediate market tightness.

* LEAD STOCKS: LME lead finished 0.9 percent lower at $1,939 a tonne, its weakest since Oct. 11, after a surge in inventories.

LME on-warrant stocks - those not earmarked for delivery - jumped 30 percent overnight to 83,625 tonnes, LME data showed. MPBSTX-TOTAL

* NICKEL: LME nickel edged up 0.1 percent to $11,770 a tonne, hovering above the 10-month low of $11,700 hit on Monday.

* PRICES: LME zinc dropped 2.7 percent to $2,550 a tonne, the lowest since Sept. 28, while tin fell 0.3 percent to $19,075.

* SPREADS: The premium for cash zinc over the three-month LME contract, at $53.50, remains close to last week’s $63 one-year high, signalling tight nearby supply. MZN0-3

* DOLLAR: Adding to the pressure on metals was a strong dollar, which held near a 2 1/2-month high.

Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter

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