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METALS-Shanghai aluminium prices slip as ingot flows improve

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminium prices extended declines into a second day on Wednesday as improving weather conditions smoothed the flow of ingots from China's remote northwestern Xinjiang region to the east of the country.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHANGHAI ALUMINIUM: The most-traded March contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) was down 1.6 pct at 14,655 yuan ($2,280.93) a tonne at 0224 GMT, having earlier touched its lowest since Dec. 20 at 14,560 yuan a tonne.

* LONDON ALUMINIUM: Aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was trading up 0.3 percent at $2,196.50 per tonne, after losing 1.7 percent in the previous session.

* LONDON COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.4 percent at $7,105 a tonne, partly recovering from a 1.8-percent dip on Tuesday.

* SHFE COPPER: The most-traded ShFE copper contract was down 1.2 percent at 53,960 yuan a tonne at the mid-session interval.

* POSITIONS: Futures brokerage Gelin Dahua cut its long position on the ShFE April copper contract by 35 percent on Tuesday, according to ShFE data, but remains the top position holder for the month with 7,803 lots.

* INVENTORIES: Stocks of industrial metals in LME warehouses fell more than 40 percent last year and further declines are expected in 2018, which should in theory signal tighter supplies and fuel a blistering price rally.

* AUSTRALIA: Mining group South32 Ltd's second-quarter metallurgical coal output dropped 43 percent due to the suspension of operations at its Appin mine in Australia over safety concerns, the company said on Wednesday.

* RIO TINTO: Rio Tinto Plc, on Tuesday said a U.S. regulator's lawsuit accusing the big Anglo-Australian mining company of fraud for overstating the value of Mozambique coal assets it had bought in 2011 should be dismissed.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks stepped back from a record high on Wednesday as the region's resource shares were dented by falling oil and commodity prices, while digital currencies tumbled on worries about tighter regulations.

DATA/EVENTS AHEAD (GMT)

1415 U.S. Industrial production Dec 1500 U.S. NAHB housing market index Jan 1500 U.S. Senate Banking Committee votes on nomination

of Jerome Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve

PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0224 GMT Three month LME copper 7105 Most active ShFE copper 53960 Three month LME aluminium 2196.5 Most active ShFE aluminium 14655 Three month LME zinc 3410.5 Most active ShFE zinc 26130 Three month LME lead 2568 Most active ShFE lead 19115 Three month LME nickel 12570 Most active ShFE nickel 97610 Three month LME tin 20470 Most active ShFE tin 145420

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 701.98 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1717.31 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 225.95 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -733.98 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2040.29

($1 = 6.4250 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Joseph Radford)