×

METALS-Nickel prices drop on worries China steel demand is losing its shine

SYDNEY, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Shanghai nickel prices fell on Friday on worries about growth in Chinese steel markets, with the sector heading into a low consumption period over winter.

The base metal, used widely to help make stainless steel, was heading for a 7-percent weekly loss on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHFE NICKEL: The most-traded ShFE nickel contract had slipped 1.43 percent to 93,030 yuan ($14,044) a tonne by 0137 GMT. The contract closed 2.6 percent weaker the previous day.

* OTHER SHFE METALS: The sell-off in nickel came amid across-the-board declines in Chinese metals futures. Active ShFE copper dipped 0.09 percent, while zinc was off 0.44 percent and aluminum 0.68 percent

* CHINA ECONOMY: China's economy cooled further last month, with industrial output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales missing expectations.

* DOLLAR STEADY: The dollar steadied on Friday after coming off the week's lows against its peers as earlier risk aversion in global financial markets receded, pushing up U.S. yields.

* FREEPORT FIRE: A fire has broken out at the main port used by copper miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc in Papua, Indonesia, on Thursday night, company sources said.

* BHP Billiton, hopes to fully divest its troubled U.S. onshore shale business in around two years and is also seeking a buyer for its nickel business in Australia.

* VW: Volkswagen is not looking to secure long-term supplies of cobalt, a key ingredient of electric-car batteries, by investing in mines, a senior official at the automaker said.

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

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares rose on Friday as strong U.S. earnings and a step forward in the U.S. Congress on tax reform brightened the mood, even though investors noted that many more hurdles must be passed to reach a final deal on tax cuts.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0900 Euro zone Current account Sep 1330 U.S. Housing starts Oct 1330 U.S. Building permits Oct

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

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

ARBS

($1 = 6.6241 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Joseph Radford)