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METALS-Metals buckle as 'risk off', strong dollar bite

(Adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices) MELBOURNE, Feb 6 (Reuters) - London nickel fell sharply on Tuesday, leading the base metals complex lower as "risk off" sentiment soured share markets and safe-haven buying lifted the dollar. The dollar has risen as a rout in global equities prompted anxious investors to cut exposure to riskier assets and seek shelter in the relative safety of the greenback. A stronger dollar makes commodities more expensive for buyers holding other currencies. But given a pick-up in global manufacturing and supply shortfalls in some metals, Citibank suggested dips offered an opportunity to buy. "The recent sell-off in rates and equities, and a spike in VIX (a volatility index) present an opportunity to rotate into industrial metals," it said in a report. "We recommend asset managers raise their exposure to industrial metals over the coming month, particularly at the expense of bonds and other fixed income, consistent with... our own constructive 1H18 outlook for industrial metals most notably towards zinc and copper."

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was down 1.2 percent at $7,080.50 a tonne, as of 0711 GMT, paring gains of 1.8 percent from the previous session and still holding above the $7,000 mark that has acted as a price floor for most of the year. Shanghai Futures Exchange copper erased overnight gains to close down 0.5 percent at 52,750 yuan ($8,395.80) a tonne.

* NICKEL: LME nickel fell as much as 3.6 percent in early trade and was down 2.7 percent at $13,380 a tonne. Any break of support at Friday's low of $13,185 would take prices back to Jan. 24 levels. Prices in January struck a 2-1/2-year top at $14,000 a tonne. Other LME metals dropped between 1 percent and 2 percent.

* SUPPORT: Steel-related commodities were among a handful that managed to evade the global market rout that followed Wall Street's biggest decline since 2011.

* CHINA IMPORTS: Traders noted that the import window for copper into China is open, potentially supporting prices. One saw limited inflows given traders will not want to risk holding stock over the Lunar New Year holidays, which start on Feb. 15.

* ALUMINIUM: Russian aluminum giant Rusal plans to boost the share of value-added products (VAP) to between 50 percent to 52 percent of total aluminum sales this year from 47 percent in 2017 because of strong demand and its new VAP capacity, it said on Monday.

* DRC: Mining companies operating in Democratic Republic of Congo are mounting a coordinated campaign against a new mining code they say will stifle investment there, Randgold's chief executive told Reuters.

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PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0712 GMT Three month LME copper 7089 Most active ShFE copper 52750 Three month LME aluminum 2190 Most active ShFE aluminum 14135 Three month LME zinc 3491 Most active ShFE zinc 26550 Three month LME lead 2623.5 Most active ShFE lead 19455 Three month LME nickel 13375 Most active ShFE nickel 101240 Three month LME tin 21685 Most active ShFE tin 149940

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 924.01 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1779.01 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 486.17 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -380.84 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1568.79

($1 = 6.2829 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton, additional reporting by Tom Daly in BEIJING,; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)