METALS-Nickel jumps on trade talks progress, upbeat Chinese data

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By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, April 1 (Reuters) – Nickel rose on Monday, leading gains in the overall base metals markets, after data showed that stimulus measures in China, the world’s biggest nickel consumer, are boosting the economy and as U.S. China trade talks are making progress.

Factory activity in China unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in March, the official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed on Sunday, suggesting government stimulus measures may be slowly gaining traction.

The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing PMI figure released on Monday also backed the government data, showing the sector expanded last month.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week trade talks with China were going “very well”, while China said it would maintain the suspension of additional tariffs on U.S. vehicles and auto parts after April 1 in return for the U.S. delaying tariff hikes on Chinese imports.

“The PMI and negotiations between the U.S. and China are going well …and people are showing optimistic opinion about future demand. Maybe the economy is not so bad as previously expected,” said a Guangzhou-based metals analyst, who asked to remain unidentified citing her company’s media policies.


* NICKEL: London nickel jumped 2.2 percent to $13,275 a tonne, the biggest increase since March 5, while nickel on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) surged 2.4 percent to 102,620 yuan ($15,301.57) a tonne.

* NICKEL STOCKS: Nickel inventories at LME-approved warehouses MNISTX-TOTAL fell to 182,574 tonnes, the lowest since June 2013. ShFE nickel inventories SNI-TOTAL-D dropped to the lowest since August 2015 at 8,718 tonnes as of Friday.

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.7 percent to $6,529 a tonne by 0350 GMT, while the most active copper contract on the ShFE advanced 1.7 percent to 49,470 yuan a tonne.

Other base metals on both exchanges also increased.

* CODELCO: Chilean state miner Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, produced 3.3 percent less copper in 2018 than the year before as it continued to contend with declining ore grades and rising costs at its aging mines.

* MMG/LAS BAMBAS: The recently-freed leader of an indigenous community that has cut off access to Chinese miner MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas copper mine in Peru said on Saturday that he was open to talks with the government, the first sign of a potential breakthrough in a dispute that has halted exports of the mine, responsible for 2 percent of global copper output.

* SIERRA GORDA: Polish miner KGHM and a union representing workers at its Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile have come to an agreement over contract talks, the head of the union told Reuters, heading off the threat of a strike.

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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 = 6.7065 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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