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METALS-Shanghai nickel rises sharply after LME inventory dip

BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) - Nickel led a rise in Shanghai base metals prices on Monday following a drop in London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel stocks on Friday, while a rally in Asian equities helped take the rest of the complex higher, with the exception of aluminum.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHFE NICKEL: The most traded July nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) was up 3.5 percent at 104,350 yuan ($687.37) a tonne by 0133 GMT, on course for its biggest daily jump since Nov. 2, having opened up 4.3 percent as it tracked Friday's surge in the LME price.

* LME NICKEL: London nickel was trading down 0.6 percent, having leapt 4.5 percent on Friday after LME data showed a 13 percent slide in on-warrant stocks.

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.3 percent to $6,941 a tonne, having closed up 1.9 percent in the previous session. The most-traded May ShFE copper contract gained 1.2 percent.

* ALUMINIUM: Shanghai aluminum was down 0.6 percent at 14,120 yuan a tonne, after touching a one-year low on Friday, with winter restrictions on Chinese smelters set to be lifted in three days' time.

* TARIFFS: The United States opened the way for more exemptions from its steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, after pressure from allies and intense lobbying from lawmakers, further diluting the measures just a day after they were formally announced.

* WAREHOUSING: The head of Maike Group, China's biggest privately held metals trader, said he would propose at this year's parliament session to allow warehouses registered to the London Metal Exchange (LME) to be set up in Shanghai's planned free-trade port.

* LITHIUM: Chile's government has asked antitrust regulators to block the sale of a stake in lithium company SQM to a Chinese company on the grounds it would give China an unfair advantage in the global race to secure resources to develop electric vehicles, according to a document seen by Reuters.

* DRC: Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila signed into law on Friday a new mining code that raises royalties and taxes on operators, the presidency said in a statement.

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MARKETS NEWS

* A relief rally swept across Asian share markets on Monday after the latest U.S. jobs report managed to impress with its strength while also easing fears of inflation and faster rate hikes, a neat feat that whetted risk appetites globally.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

1400 U.S. Employment trends Feb

PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0130 GMT Three month LME copper 6945 Most active ShFE copper 52160 Three month LME aluminum 2116 Most active ShFE aluminum 14130 Three month LME zinc 3267.5 Most active ShFE zinc 25035 Three month LME lead 2381 Most active ShFE lead 18490 Three month LME nickel 13770 Most active ShFE nickel 104410 Three month LME tin 21400 Most active ShFE tin 147120

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 922.11 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1426.14 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 488.09 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 172.97 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1410.98

($1 = 6.3285 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Sunil Nair)