June 14, 2019 / 4:31 AM / 3 months ago

METALS-Nickel hits 2-week high on supply concern in Indonesia

(Adds details on Indonesia, updates prices)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, June 14 (Reuters) - Nickel prices jumped to two-week highs on Friday on concerns that supply of the metal from major producer Indonesia would be disrupted as flooding has impacted some mines there.

A widespread flooding in Indonesia’s nickel hub of Sulawesi has sparked concerns of disruption in nickel supply from Indonesia, a major producer and exporter of nickel and the main source of supply for China’s stainless steel industry.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose as much as 1.9% to a two-week high of $12,065 a tonne but eased later in the session to $11,945 at 0733 GMT.

Shanghai nickel climbed 3% to its highest since May 28 at 101,360 yuan ($14,641.69) a tonne and also retreated to end up 1.7% at close.

“It’s short position squeeze in Shanghai for July nickel contract,” said a nickel analyst based in China.

Nickel stocks in warehouses tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange NI-STX-SGH on Friday jumped 52.6% from two weeks earlier to 5,835 tonnes, and zinc stocks ZN-STX-SGH surged 31.7% in the same period to 19,241 tonnes, exchange data showed.

Meanwhile, most other base metals fell after China released data showing its industrial output growth slowed to a more than 17-year low of 5% in May, well below expectations, while fixed-asset investment also grew less than expected in Jan-May.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: Benchmark copper fell 0.2% after a sharp jump in inventory in LME warehouses, but prices were cushioned by supply concerns in Chile and Zambia. The most active Shanghai copper contract ended down 0.1% to 46,340 yuan a tonne.

* COPPER STOCKPILES: Copper inventories at warehouses tracked by the LME as of Wednesday jumped 18% from the previous session to 248,550 tonnes, the highest since September 2018, latest data showed. MCUSTX-TOTAL

* CODELCO: Unionised workers at Codelco’s Chuquicamata copper mine, one of the world’s largest, said they would walk off their job beginning Friday after the firm’s proposed deal did not meet the workers’ key requests.

* VEDANTA: Zambia will fine and break ties with mining firms that fail to operate according to the southern African country’s laws, President Edgar Lungu said on Thursday, escalating a dispute with India-listed Vedanta.

* CHINA ALUMINIUM: China’s aluminium production rose by 2.4 percent in May from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, as smelters that restarted due to higher prices for the light metal continued to ramp up output.

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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

ARBS ($1 = 6.9227 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich

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