METALS-Shanghai aluminum climbs over 1 pct on alumina shortages

(Adds analyst comment, updates prices) BEIJING, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminum prices rose over 1 percent on Wednesday, bouncing back from a slight dip in the previous session, as rising raw material prices and production cuts in China provided end-of-year support to the market. Producers of alumina in northern China have been affected by an escalating natural gas shortage in the region, pushing up the price of the substance, which is used by smelters to make aluminum. The aluminum price revival, following a 17.5 percent plunge in the price of the metal from Sept. 21 as winter curbs on Chinese smelters underwhelmed, "is because of the alumina price rebound, which is in turn driven by the gas price surge," said Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong. "Given the rising gas price, fuel cost may account for a higher percentage than the normal 30 percent" of alumina production costs, she added.


* SHFE ALUMINIUM: The most-traded February contract in Shanghai was up 1.2 percent at 14,660 yuan ($2,222.93)per tonne at the mid-session interval, heading for a fourth gain in five days after data out last week showed a hefty drop in China's November aluminum output.

* ALUMINA: A unit of State Power Investment Corp in China's Shanxi province will cut its alumina output by 50,000-60,000 tonnes this month due to gas shortages, a company source told Reuters on Tuesday.

* LME ALUMINIUM: Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.1 percent at $2,097.50 a tonne by 0450 GMT, having touched a three-week peak on Tuesday.

* COPPER: The most-traded February copper contract on the ShFE gained 0.3 percent to 53,700 yuan a tonne, but copper on the LME was flat at $6,941.50 a tonne.

* UNITED STATES: U.S. President Donald Trump's new security strategy bolsters the case for trade actions to protect U.S. economic interests on national security grounds, including possible import tariffs on steel and aluminum, a senior Trump administration official said on Tuesday.

* BHP: Global miner BHP Billiton, said on Tuesday it had taken a preliminary decision to leave the World Coal Association (WCA) over differences on climate change and might also withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

* COLUMN: Threat of strikes looms large for copper supply in 2018: Andy Home

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* Asian shares fell on Wednesday, taking their cues from Wall Street with investor enthusiasm toward U.S. tax changes ebbing as the long-awaited reform bill wound its way through Congress, while higher U.S. Treasury yields underpinned the dollar.


0700 Germany Producer prices Nov 0900 Euro zone Current account Oct 1500 U.S. Existing home sales Nov


0450 GMT

Three month LME copper 6941.5 Most active ShFE copper 53700 Three month LME aluminum 2097.5 Most active ShFE aluminum 14660 Three month LME zinc 3213 Most active ShFE zinc 25510 Three month LME lead 2556.5 Most active ShFE lead 19390 Three month LME nickel 11815 Most active ShFE nickel 95030 Three month LME tin 19295 Most active ShFE tin 137520 LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 290.89 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1399.98 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 390.37 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -1077.54 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2206.25

($1 = 6.5949 Chinese yuan )

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sunil Nair)