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METALS-Shanghai nickel tumbles on doubts over steel demand

SYDNEY, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Shanghai nickel futures tumbled more than 2 percent in early trade on Tuesday as reforms in China threaten steel-intensive infrastructure projects.

ANZ Bank warned that weakness in the stainless steel sector continues to override the exuberance over electric vehicles and demand for nickel-rich batteries.

Stainless steel production accounts for two thirds of nickel demand.

Falls in equity markets have also raised concerns that liquidity will impact investor appetite in key commodity markets, ANZ said.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHANGHAI NICKEL: The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was 2.35-percent lower at 93,480 yuan ($14,170.72) a tonne at 0100 GMT. The contract has now retreated by more than 10 percent from its one-year peak hit on Nov. 6.

* LONDON NICKEL: Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange rebounded slightly to $11,620 a tonne, partially reversing a 3.9-percent loss in the previous session.

* BHP TARGETS: Top global miner BHP Billiton said on Tuesday it would drive further cost cuts across its Australian business, and forecast strong price support from China for steelmaking raw materials.

* TIGHT LEAD: The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) last month made a significant revision to its outlook for the lead market this year. The market is now expected to be in a supply deficit of around 125,000 tonnes ahead of another 48,000-tonne deficit next year.

* CHILE STRIKE: Workers at BHP Billiton's Escondida copper mine in Chile ended a 24-hour strike on Friday, but could down tools again this week over the company's planned layoffs. Escondida is the world's largest copper mine.

* POSTPONEMENT: A court hearing for a challenge by South Africa's mining industry to revisions to a sector charter which include raising levels of black ownership has been postponed to February from December.

* SHANGHAI COPPER: ShFE copper was 0.72-percent lower, with LME three-month copper also off slightly at $6,922.50 a tonne.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares stepped back from decade highs on Tuesday on worries about another sharp sell-off in Chinese stock markets, while the U.S. dollar trod water ahead of a crucial vote for a tax reform in the world's largest economy.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0700 Germany Import prices Oct 0900 Euro zone Lending and money supply Oct 1200 Germany GfK consumer sentiment Dec 1330 U.S. Advance goods trade balance Oct 1330 U.S. Wholesale inventories Oct 1400 U.S. Monthly home price index Sep 1400 U.S. S&P/Case-Shiller home prices Sep 1500 U.S. Consumer confidence Nov 1500 U.S. Senate Banking Committee holds hearing on

nomination of Jerome Powell to be chairman of the

Federal Reserve

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 = 6.5967 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Joseph Radford)