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METALS-London nickel hits 19-mth high as Vale halt stokes supply worries

SYDNEY, May 8 (Reuters) - London nickel pushed to hits highest in 19 months on Thursday amid heightened supply concerns as Vale halted processing at its Goro nickel plant in New Caledonia, adding to concerns over Indonesian and Russian supply.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Three-month nickel was trading up 0.8 percent at $18,790 a tonne by 0145 GMT, having earlier touched $18,849 a tonne - its highest since October 2012.

* Nickel outperformed other metals, which were mostly flat. LME copper was unchanged at $6,654.50 a tonne.

* The most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange sagged 0.9 percent to 46,680 yuan ($7,500) a tonne.

* Vale has suspended production at its Goro nickel processing plant in New Caledonia due to a spill, a New Zealand radio station reported on Thursday.

* China's iron ore and copper imports likely rose in April as manufacturing activity improved and financing demand stayed robust, but swollen inventories continued to raise concerns that import demand could fall if banks tightened trade credit.

* Global business growth slowed to a six-month low in April as both services firms and manufacturers saw slower expansions in activity and a sales tax rise hit Japanese output, business surveys showed on Wednesday.

* The contribution of commodities sales and trading to Grupo BTG Pactual SA's profit will rise in coming quarters, Chief Executive Officer André Esteves said on Wednesday.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click , or

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares drew a measure of comfort from dovish comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief and signs of easing tensions in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin called on pro-Moscow separatists to postpone a secession vote.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) FOR THURSDAY 0145 HSBC services PMI April 0200 China imports/exports April 1230 U.S. initial jobless claims

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 = 6.2343 Chinese Yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton)