METALS--Shanghai aluminum hits over 2-wk high on U.S. import tariff plan

(Adds analyst's comment, updates prices) BEIJING, March 2 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminum prices touched their highest level since Feb. 12 on Friday, shrugging off U.S. President Donald Trump's pledge to impose a 10 percent tariff on imports of the metal. Lower Chinese exports to the United States could leave China's domestic market in greater surplus, but Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong played down the significance of move. The "import duty increase on aluminum products will have a small impact on China's aluminum export and domestic market, in our view," the brokerage wrote in a note. "China's aluminum products exports to US accounted for around 14 percent of its total exports in 2017 and represent only 1 percent of China's total aluminum production," it added.


* SHFE ALUMINIUM: The most-traded April aluminum contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) was up 0.1 percent at 14,365 yuan ($2,261.49) a tonne by the mid-session interval, having earlier climbed to as high as 14,480 yuan, its highest since Feb. 12. It has risen 0.7 percent this week, and is set for its best weekly gain since the week ending Dec. 29.

* LME ALUMINIUM: Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4 percent at $2,139 a tonne as of 0400 GMT, after rising 0.7 percent in the previous session.

* ALUMINIUM: U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighboring Canada.

* PREMIUMS: Premiums for aluminum in the United States spiked to the highest in almost three years as buyers sought to secure metal before higher costs come into force.

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.1 percent at $6,925.50 a tonne, having closed down 0.1 percent on Thursday.

* SHFE COPPER: The most traded Shanghai copper contract was flat at 52,370 yuan a tonne. Market open interest on ShFE copper surged to 855,760 lots on Thursday, its highest since November 2015.

* NICKEL: Shanghai nickel was the biggest loser, slipping 2.3 percent to 102,100 yuan a tonne, tracking a 2.4 percent dip in London on Thursday amid a stainless steel inventory overhang.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click or


* Stock markets in Asia on Friday extended a Wall Street rout, as investors were spooked by the specter of a global trade war after President Donald Trump announced the United States would impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.


0700 Germany Import prices Jan 0700 Germany Retail sales Jan 1000 Euro zone Producer prices Jan 1345 U.S. ISM-New York index


0400 GMT

Three month LME copper 6929.5 Most active ShFE copper 52370 Three month LME aluminum 2139 Most active ShFE aluminum 14365 Three month LME zinc 3414.5 Most active ShFE zinc 26200 Three month LME lead 2452 Most active ShFE lead 18810 Three month LME nickel 13350 Most active ShFE nickel 102090 Three month LME tin 21530 Most active ShFE tin 147070 LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 1121.77 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1416.99 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 521.03 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 87.55 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1885.09

($1 = 6.3520 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Biju Dwarakanath)