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METALS- Aluminium hits two-week low as investors wait for shutdowns
October 2, 2017 / 10:30 AM / 16 days ago

METALS- Aluminium hits two-week low as investors wait for shutdowns

* LME/ShFE arb: bit.ly/2wZSAEz (Adds comments, updates prices, changes dateline from MANILA)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Aluminium touched a two-week low on Monday as investors locked in profits as they waited for evidence that an environmental crackdown in China would slash output.

Other metals, however, were supported by data showing that the manufacturing sector in top metals consumer China expanded at the fastest clip in more than five years and after Beijing slashed bank reserve requirements to boost lending.

Starting in October, Chinese aluminium smelters are closing some production to meet strict air quality standards for the winter.

“While there’s been talk of the cuts, we really haven’t seen them yet. I do think they’re still coming, but people are looking for a little bit more evidence,” said Colin Hamilton, director of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets in London.

“I’d imagine people are also taking a little bit of profit ahead of Golden Week.”

Chinese markets are closed this week for the National Day break.

Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.7 percent at $2,086.50 a tonne by 1015 GMT after touching $2,082, the lowest since Sept. 18.

The metal mainly used in transport and packaging had gained nearly 20 percent in the three months leading to its five-year peak of $2,199 on Sept. 21 and has slipped about 5 percent since then.

* LEAD: The metal mainly used for batteries was the top performer on the LME, climbing 1.4 percent to $2,520 a tonne on signs of shortages.

* LEAD BACKWARDATION: Cash lead moved to a $7 premium against the three-month contract CMPB0-3, the highest since April. A backwardation, when a nearby contract is higher than a forward one, usually indicates lack of supply.

“The curve gets into backwardation...in further signs of supply stress on the back of environmental measures and China demand,” Alastair Munro at broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

* ZINC: LME zinc rose 0.6 percent to $3,180 after available LME inventories MZNSTX-TOTAL fell by 16,950 tonnes, bringing the decline so far this year to 64 percent.

* ZINC TIGHTNESS: The premium of cash zinc over three months was $43.25 a tonne at Friday’s close, down from a peak of $66 earlier last week, but still strong compared with a high of $11 during the year until mid-September.

* COPPER: LME copper rose 0.2 percent to $6,496.50 a tonne.

* COPPER SUPPLY NEWS: Copper prices were pressured by news of further supply coming on the market after news that Indonesia’s giant Grasberg mine can continue to export copper concentrate even if permit talks are not resolved this month.

Also, Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials Corp said it plans to produce 14 percent more refined copper in October-March.

Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila, editing by Louise Heavens

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