×

METALS--Shanghai, London metals skid on N.Korea tensions, China credit jitters

jitters@ (Adds detail and updates prices) MELBOURNE, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Metals in Shanghai and London tumbled on Friday as investors slashed risk given escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and ongoing jitters about China debt after a ratings downgrade. "Metals have had quite a rally in the past few months and have done so much faster than fundamentals would suggest they should," said analyst Amy Li of National Australia Bank in Melbourne. A combination of factors had led to the sell-off, Li said, among them, rising geo-political tension with North Korea, expectations for a more aggressive interest rate rise cycle in the United States, and to a smaller extent, the ongoing credit concerns in China. "I would say this is a pullback from the very, very bullish position we have seen in the past few months."

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHFE: In Shanghai, metals slumped between 1 percent and 6 percent, with the steepest tumble in nickel, which hit limit down as higher trading fees on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) came into play.

* LME: In London, lead and nickel both plunged 4 percent. Investors had surged into metals on prospects of resilient China demand and environmental curbs that have cut into supply. LME zinc and aluminum both fell by more than 2 percent.

* LME COPPER: LME copper tumbled to its lowest since Aug. 16, touching $6,366 a tonne, before trimming losses to $6,409, as of 0740 GMT.

* SHFE COPPER: The most-active ShFE copper futures slid 1.5 percent to 49,630 yuan ($7,532) a tonne.

* CONFUSION: "Not sure why so aggressive a move, guess the U.S. sanctions, delayed reaction in metals to FOMC," said one trader in Hong Kong. "Confused markets I have to say, and on top of that trying to get out of risk when its all one way only exacerbates the move and creates deeper moves in ever decreasing liquidity."

* N. KOREA: China called on all parties on Friday to exercise restraint after North Korea's foreign minister was quoted as saying he believes the North could consider conducting a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.

* CHINA CREDIT: S&P Global Ratings downgraded China's long-term sovereign credit rating on Thursday, less than a month ahead of one of the country's most sensitive political gatherings, citing increasing risks from its rapid build-up of debt.

* CHINA FACTORIES: Thousands of small factories in China, making everything from steel to chemicals, are scrambling for access to the country's clogged rail network as Beijing curbs the use of diesel trucks in an effort to tackle air pollution.

* MACQUARIE: Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd has overtaken Goldman Sachs to break into the top three banks for commodities business, having significantly expanded its U.S. energy operations in recent years while rivals cut back.

* COMING UP: Germany Markit Mfg PMI flash Sep at 0730 GMT PRICES

0731 GMT

Three month LME copper 6409.5 Most active ShFE copper 49610 Three month LME aluminum 2130 Most active ShFE aluminum 16400 Three month LME zinc 3028 Most active ShFE zinc 24675 Three month LME lead 2419.5 Most active ShFE lead 20225 Three month LME nickel 10565 Most active ShFE nickel 0 Three month LME tin 20440 Most active ShFE tin 144180 LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 255.44 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 86.28 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 866.12 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 284.56 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1791.62

($1 = 6.5894 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)