February 17, 2016 / 11:06 AM / 4 years ago

METALS-Lead sees biggest daily loss in 9 months after inventories jump

* LME lead stocks surge by 10 pct, over 18,000 tonnes

* Norsk Hydro revises down 2016 outlook for aluminium demand (Updates with closing prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Lead suffered its biggest one-day loss in nine months on Wednesday, dropping more than 3 percent after a surge in inventories highlighted the market was well supplied.

Other metals were mixed.

Data showed that lead inventories at warehouses registered by the London Metal Exchange MPBSTX-TOTAL rose by 10 percent or 18,325 tonnes in one day.

“I don’t really think there’s any particular shortage of lead. The key market in lead is China and that’s been pretty weak,” said Citi analyst David Wilson.

Data on Monday showed the global lead market surplus last year climbed to 63,000 tonnes from a surplus of 10,000 tonnes in 2014.

Three-month LME lead slid 3.1 percent to close at $1,734.50 a tonne, its weakest since Feb. 2. It fell 2.2 percent in the previous session.

Lead had rallied 17 percent from mid-January to Monday’s peak, but Wilson said the move higher was not based on fundamentals. “My feeling is that the move at the back end of January was pretty overdone.”

Helping to steady some metals and cap losses in others were stronger markets in oil and shares, including the Shanghai stock market’s rise to a three-week high, fuelled by economic stimulus hopes.

LME copper climbed 0.7 percent to finish at $4,589 a tonne after closing little changed on Tuesday.

Hong Kong broker Argonaut Securities said the metal’s picture was improving given 200,000 tonnes of planned first-quarter output cuts by China’s copper smelters, further supply curtailments by Glencore and Freeport, and increased buying by China’s strategic stockpiler.

“Copper’s supply and demand fundamentals in Q1 2016 have become promising, in our view,” it said in a note.

Despite production cuts in some industrial metals, the wider market may not have seen the bottom since more adjustment is needed to balance markets, said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale.

“It’s much too soon to look for a sustained recovery in confidence while there are more than enough reasons to believe that for the base metals complex the risks remain to the downside,” he said in a note.

Aluminium closed 0.3 percent weaker at $1,518 a tonne after Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s largest aluminium producers, cut its 2016 forecast for growth in aluminium global demand, including China, to 3-4 percent from 4-5 percent previously.

In other news, Icelandic workers voted to block exports of aluminium from a Rio Tinto plant.

Nickel ended 0.8 percent firmer at $8,405 a tonne, zinc fell 0.7 percent to $1,648 while tin gained 2 percent to $15,700.

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 (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Susanna Twidale and Susan Fenton)

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