April 22, 2019 / 4:24 AM / 4 months ago

METALS-Shanghai aluminium jumps to near six-month high as inventories fall

 (Updates closing prices)
    By Mai Nguyen
    SINGAPORE, April 22 (Reuters) - Aluminium futures on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE)          rose to their highest
in nearly six months on Monday, following a drop in inventories
last week and as investors expect a stronger demand in the
second quarter.
    The most active aluminium contract on ShFE jumped to as high
as 14,200 yuan ($2,115.36) a tonne, the highest since Oct. 31,
after data on Friday showed that aluminium stocks in warehouses
tracked by ShFE AL-STX-SGH dropped to 665,067 tonnes, their
lowest since November 2017.
    "(The second quarter) should be a strong demand season, so
this would probably give aluminium price a bit of support. Macro
data released last week is kind of strong, much better than
expectations for GDP and also real estate," said Jackie Wang, a
China-based analyst for metals consultants CRU.
    The contract last week broke the 14,000-yuan barrier,
considered an average break-even for Chinese aluminium smelters,
for the first time in four-and-a-half months on an improved
outlook for the metal in China, the world's biggest user.
    But investors are cautious about how high aluminium prices
can go, as the Chinese government is unlikely to give a strong
stimulus to the construction sector, the top user of aluminium,
to avoid a property bubble, Wang said.
    "We still think demand growth in 2019 will be slower than
2018," she added.
    * SHANGHAI PRICES: The most active copper contract         
ended down 0.3 percent at 49,250 yuan a tonne, nickel         
fell 0.5 percent, while lead          advanced 0.6 percent and
zinc          rose 0.5 percent.
    * COPPER: China's refined copper output in March rose 10.2
percent from a year earlier to 705,000 tonnes in March, the
country's National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. However,
that is the lowest monthly total in records on the bureau's
website since June 2016.             
    * JTXG/COPPER: Japanese miner JXTG Holdings         
declined to comment on a media report that it is exploring the
sale of its majority-owned Caserones copper mine in Chile.
    * SCRAP: Chinese authorities will start accepting
applications for licences to import unspecified quantities of
soon-to-be-restricted types of scrap metal from late May, the
recycling branch of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry
Association said on Saturday.             
    * CHINA ECONOMY: China will maintain policy support for the
economy, but will also push forward structural deleveraging and
prevent speculation in the property market, suggesting attention
may be turning back to debt risks that any further substantial
stimulus measures may create.                          
    * HOLIDAY: The London Metal Exchange is closed for a public
holiday and will be open again on Tuesday.
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    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                             

($1 = 6.7128 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and
Shreejay Sinha)
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