METALS-Shanghai nickel surges over 4 pct on China steel outlook

(Updates prices) MELBOURNE, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Shanghai nickel jumped more than 4 percent on Monday, tracking a move in London after China said it would cut duties on some steel exports, which raised expectations for demand.


* Shanghai Futures Exchange nickel closed up 4.2 percent at 93,740 yuan ($14,176.82) a tonne, after rising as far as 94,340 yuan, the highest since Nov. 28. Prices rallied although open interest was steady, which suggests that short positions have been closed.

* London Metal Exchange nickel rose 0.4 percent to $11,625 a tonne following a 3.8 percent rally on Friday.

* CHINA: China will cut export taxes on some steel products and fertilizers and ditch those for sales abroad of steel wire, rod and bars from Jan. 1, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday, in a series of measures that could boost shipments.

* DEFICIT: Helping to trim a glut of stockpiles in exchange, the global deficit for refined nickel widened to 65,700 tonnes in the first nine months of the year, from 47,400 tonnes, in the same period of 2016, data from the International Nickel Study Group showed.

* The news helped to push up steelmaking raw materials prices. Dalian iron ore futures surged 7.1 percent.

* COPPER: LME copper was steady at $6,888.50 a tonne after rising 1.4 percent on Friday when it peaked at $6,913, the highest since late November. Shanghai Futures Exchange copper climbed 1.5 percent to 53,560 yuan.

* COPPER INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long position in COMEX copper contracts in the week to Dec. 12, the latest data showed.

* CHINA ECONOMY: New home prices in China extended another month of steady growth in November, after picking up slightly in October, shrugging off a range of government measures to rein in an overheated property market as price gains in smaller cities widened.

* JAPAN: Japan's export growth accelerated in November to mark a full year of annual gains, underscoring the strength of external demand that has led the economy to its second-longest run of postwar growth.

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* Asian shares edged up, with sentiment boosted by expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass a long-awaited tax bill this week, while Chinese stocks were soggy on concerns about liquidity and tighter regulations in the world's second largest economy.

* The dollar held modest gains against its peers, having received a lift after U.S. tax reform efforts moved another step closer to ratification. PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0248 GMT Three month LME copper 6866 Most active ShFE copper 53430 Three month LME aluminum 2063 Most active ShFE 14490


Three month LME zinc 3193.5 Most active ShFE zinc 25435 Three month LME lead 2521 Most active ShFE lead 19255 Three month LME nickel 11560 Most active ShFE nickel 93330 Three month LME tin 19070 Most active ShFE tin 135580



($1 = 6.6122 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Subhranshu Sahu)