March 13, 2019 / 5:35 AM / a year ago

METALS-London zinc steady at more than 8-month high; stocks in focus

 (Adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices)
    BEIJING, March 13 (Reuters) - London zinc prices hit their
highest in more than eight months on Wednesday, as investors
worried about ultra-tight stocks of the metal used to galvanise
    Zinc stocks in London Metal Exchange-registered warehouses
currently stand at 59,200 tonnes, their lowest since October
    Prices "have moved higher on the potential for supply
disruptions and very low inventory levels," Standard Chartered
said in a note.
    Floods in Australia's Queensland state last month have
disrupted rail delivery of zinc exports to the northern port of
Townsville, affecting miners, including Glencore, MMG
Ltd and South 32.
    Townsville port ships about 40 percent of Australia's zinc
production, equal to about 700,000 tonnes a year or 5 percent of
global supply.
    * LME ZINC: Three-month LME zinc rose as much as 0.4
percent to $2,848.50, its highest since July 2, and was up 0.1
percent at $2,840, matching the previous session's high, as of
0708 GMT. 
     * SHFE ZINC: The most-traded May zinc contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed as much as 2.5
percent to 21,980 yuan ($3,277.91) a tonne, the highest since
April 2, 2018, before closing up 2 percent. 
    * ZINC SPREADS: The premium of cash zinc over the
three-month LME contract CMZN0-3 stood at $52 a tonne on
Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 7, underscoring tight near-term
supply for physical metal. 
    * OTHER METALS: Benchmark LME copper edged down 0.3
percent to $6,454.50 a tonne as the dollar firmed slightly,
while ShFE copper closed up 0.2 percent at 49,340 yuan
a tonne. Nickel was the laggard, slipping 0.9 percent in London
 and 0.8 percent in Shanghai.
    * COLUMN: Funds start buying into the copper recovery story:
Andy Home      
    * CHINA VAT: China's metal traders are betting that recently
announced manufacturing tax cuts will start in May and are
placing trades that pay off as prices diverge between the April
and May contracts.
    * TRADE: The United States and China may be in the final
weeks of discussions to hammer out a deal to ease their
tit-for-tat tariffs dispute, U.S. Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer said on Tuesday.
    * RUSAL: Russian aluminium producer Rusal plans to
launch the second line of its Boguchansk aluminium smelter in
Siberia at the end of this month.    
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    * Asian shares drifted lower as a risk-off mood settled on
 BASE METALS PRICES                        0711 GMT
 Three month LME copper                      6454.5
 Most active ShFE copper                      49340
 Three month LME aluminium                   1882.5
 Most active ShFE aluminium                   13605
 Three month LME zinc                          2842
 Most active ShFE zinc                        21875
 Three month LME lead                        2099.5
 Most active ShFE lead                        17430
 Three month LME nickel                       12985
 Most active ShFE nickel                     101000
 Three month LME tin                          21200
 Most active ShFE tin                        147100
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                             
 LME/SHFE COPPER               LMESHFCUc3   -997.98
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM            LMESHFALc3   -929.98
 LME/SHFE ZINC                 LMESHFZNc3   -700.37
 LME/SHFE LEAD                 LMESHFPBc3    442.03
 LME/SHFE NICKEL               LMESHFNIc3  -1771.78
($1 = 6.7055 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Tom Daly, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and
Rashmi Aich)
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