June 20, 2019 / 4:23 AM / a year ago

METALS-Copper, nickel at over 3-week high as dollar eases on Fed rate cut hints

 (Adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices)
    By Mai Nguyen
    SINGAPORE, June 20 (Reuters) - London copper and nickel
prices climbed to a more than three-week high on Thursday on a
weaker U.S. dollar, as investors took Federal Reserve's comments
as a sign of possible interest rate cuts later this year.
    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
gained as much as 1.2% to $5,991 a tonne, its highest since May
28 and stood at $5,980.50 as of 0701 GMT. Nickel also
touched its highest since May 28 at $12,255 a tonne. 
    The U.S. Fed on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged as
widely expected, but said the case for lower rates was building,
suggesting it could ease monetary policy as early as next month
amid rising trade tensions and concerns about weak inflation.

    The dollar index eased against a basket of six major
currencies on Thursday after losing more than 0.5% overnight,
making dollar-denominated metals cheaper for holders of other
    "A weaker USD offset some concerns about the upcoming
U.S.-China trade talks. Reports of the call between the two
presidents suggested that their meeting at the G20 would only
cover strategic issues, raising concerns that an agreement was
still some way off," said ANZ in a note.
    * LME: In a broad LME price rally, aluminium climbed
for a third straight day and was trading up 0.5%, while zinc
 gained 1.3%, lead rose 1.1% and tin
advanced 0.9%.
    * SHFE COPPER: The most traded August copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.2 percent at 46,930 yuan 
($6,833.84) a tonne.
    * CHILE: Unions at Chile's Codelco were scheduled to discuss
an improved contract offer that the world's top copper producer
hopes will bring an end to a strike at its huge Chuquicamata
    * TRADE TALKS: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
said he expected to meet with China's vice premier and chief
trade talk negotiator Liu He in Osaka along with U.S. Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin before Trump's meeting there with Xi.

    * CHINA FIRM: Upcoming trade talks between China and the
United States are unlikely to immediately resolve major
disagreements between the two sides, but could start a new phase
in negotiations, Chinese state media said.
    * LITHIUM: Australia's Altura Mining said on
Thursday its former biggest investor and one-time suitor,
China's Shaanxi J&R Optimum Energy, has sold its
entire remaining 11.8% stake in the lithium miner.
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
 BASE METALS PRICES                       0704 GMT
 Three month LME copper                       5979
 Most active ShFE copper                     46920
 Three month LME aluminium                  1795.5
 Most active ShFE aluminium                  13905
 Three month LME zinc                       2497.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                       19860
 Three month LME lead                       1915.5
 Most active ShFE lead                       16090
 Three month LME nickel                      12250
 Most active ShFE nickel                     99890
 Three month LME tin                         19020
 Most active ShFE tin                       144110
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                            
 LME/SHFE COPPER              LMESHFCUc3    555.28
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM           LMESHFALc3   -116.92
 LME/SHFE ZINC                LMESHFZNc3    141.95
 LME/SHFE LEAD                LMESHFPBc3    752.02
 LME/SHFE NICKEL              LMESHFNIc3   2192.84

($1 = 6.8673 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; additional reporting by Tom Daly in
BEIJING; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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