May 14, 2015 / 10:35 AM / in 5 years

METALS-Nickel falls as inventories rise, Shanghai futures slide

* ShFE nickel down 3 pct on hopes ShFE will list global brands

* LME nickel, lead inventories rise (Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Nickel fell on Thursday on concern about excess supply after a rise in inventories increased, with further pressure coming from a slide in Shanghai futures.

Most other metals also declined, but losses were limited by a weaker dollar and the possibility that China could step up stimulus measures to boost economic growth

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange closed down 1.9 percent at $13,780 a tonne.

LME nickel inventories MNISTX-TOTAL rose 2,310 tonnes to 443,352, close to a record high set at the end of last month, while lead stocks also increased MPBSTX-TOTAL, weighing on that metal’s price.

LME lead ended 2.6 percent weaker at $1,971 a tonne.

The steady rise of nickel stocks have disappointed investors betting that shortages would develop after Indonesia banned nickel ore exports last year.

Nickel on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slid by more than 3 percent at one point before trimming loses to 2.5 percent.

Traders noted speculation that the ShFE will register global brands for delivery against its new nickel contract, soothing worries over domestic supply and prompting profit-taking given a 14 percent price jump from the end of April to May 7.

“There is still no exact date for when the foreign brands can finish the registration in ShFE,” said a source familiar with the matter.

LME metals were underpinned by a weaker dollar, which makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for buyers using other currencies, and by the view that China will provide further stimulus after weak economic data.

“We’ve already seen clear signs from the Chinese authorities that they are prepared to do what is necessary to at least secure that 7 percent GDP growth target,” said Caroline Bain, senior commodities economist at Capital Economics in London.

The China situation, however, was nuanced for metals, Bain added.

“Although monetary loosening in China is good news for demand, there may be less pressure to clean up the environment, and in some sectors with overproduction, such as aluminium and steel, to consolidate and restructure.”

The U.S. dollar held near its lowest since January against a currency basket after downward U.S. producer price data challenged hopes for better U.S. economic growth and supported the view that the Federal Reserve would delay hiking interest rates.

Tin was the best performer, climbing 1.1 percent to close at $15,850 while copper, untraded in closing rings, was bid at $6,400.50, up 50 cents or 0.01 percent.

Zinc finished down 0.6 percent at $2,310 a tonne, and aluminium shed 0.7 percent to $1,868.50.

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

Three month LME tin

$1 = 6.2043 Chinese yuan renminbi Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by William Hardy and Elaine Hardcastle

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