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METALS-LME aluminium hovers near 3-mth low on China smelter ramp up

 (Updates prices)
    MELBOURNE, March 15 (Reuters) - London aluminium hovered
near its lowest since late December on Thursday on expectations
of rising supply as China's winter pollution controls expire.
    More generally, metal prices came under light pressure amid
mounting investor concerns that growing trade tensions would
hurt the global economy.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * LONDON ALUMINIUM: London Metal Exchange aluminium
was trading flat at $2,089 a tonne by 0728 GMT, having slipped
to its weakest since Dec. 19 at $2,087 on Wednesday. Support is
seen at the 200-day moving average at $2,083, a break of which
could trigger a steeper correction, as it would send a sell
signal to momentum following funds.
    * SHANGHAI ALUMINIUM: Shanghai aluminium hit its
lowest in 14 months at 13,820 yuan ($2,191) on Tuesday and last
traded at 13,990 yuan.
    * HEATING SEASON ENDS: China's winter heating season ended
on Thursday. Aluminium smelters in 28 northern Chinese cities
had been told to reduce output by at least 30 percent from Nov.
15 to March 15, although the actual volume cut was below
expectations, putting pressure on prices.
    * OUTPUT: China's aluminium production fell 1.8 percent in
January-February from a year earlier, as the country's pollution
crackdown and supply-side reform kicked in. An estimated 4.4
million tonnes of new capacity are expected to be completed this
year. 
    "Although the (Chinese) figures show that aluminium
production decreased year-on-year ... it reached over 90,000
tons on a daily basis – the highest level since last June," said
Commerzbank.
      "Stocks of both steel and aluminium have grown noticeably
so far this year, which points to subdued demand and could give
rise to concerns about excessive supply." 
    * STOCKS: ShFE aluminium AL-STX-SGH stockpiles held at
exchange warehouses are within a whisker of record highs near
850,000 tonnes, reflecting a surplus of domestic material. 
    * DISCOUNT: The discount between cash ShFE aluminium
and physical prices AL-A00-CCNMM has narrowed to 35 yuan from
385 three weeks ago, reflecting a tightening market and an
expected pick-up in nearby demand. 
    * COPPER: LME copper slipped 0.4 percent to $6,960 a
tonne, paring previous session's gains. Prices are expected to
rise as industrial production in the seasonally strongest second
quarter ramps up.
    * TRADE: The Trump administration is pressing China to cut
its trade surplus with the United States by $100 billion.

    * COBALT: Glencore, the world's biggest producer of
cobalt, has agreed to sell around a third of its cobalt
production over the next three years to Chinese battery recycler
GEM.
    * SMOG: Eastern China's Jiangsu province will step up its
war on pollution and focus on "high-quality development"
following a spike in smog early this year.
    * DOLLAR: Supporting metals, the dollar fell against the yen
on Thursday as lingering worries about global trade tensions
weighed on investors' risk appetite.
        
    PRICES    
    
 BASE METALS PRICES                     0737 GMT            
 Three month LME copper                               6965.5
 Most active ShFE copper                               52110
 Three month LME aluminium                            2089.5
 Most active ShFE aluminium                            13990
 Three month LME zinc                                   3223
 Most active ShFE zinc                                 24860
 Three month LME lead                                 2398.5
 Most active ShFE lead                                 18460
 Three month LME nickel                                13725
 Most active ShFE nickel                              103800
 Three month LME tin                                   21185
 Most active ShFE tin                                 144810
                                                            
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                                      
 LME/SHFE COPPER                 LMESHFCUc3           933.29
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM              LMESHFALc3          -1335.3
 LME/SHFE ZINC                   LMESHFZNc3           698.72
 LME/SHFE LEAD                   LMESHFPBc3            50.99
 LME/SHFE NICKEL                 LMESHFNIc3          1387.37
 
    
 (Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin and
Vyas Mohan)
  
 
 
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