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METALS-Aluminium slides on profit-taking, surging inventories

* LME/ShFE arb: http://bit.ly/2wZSAEz

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Recasts, adds comment, changes dateline)

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - Aluminium slipped on Thursday as funds took profits on long positions following recent gains and after data showed surging stocks in warehouses approved by the London Metal Exchange.

Benchmark aluminium was down 1.2 percent at $2,222 a tonne after hitting a 11-week peak at $2,277.50 a tonne on Wednesday on worries about shortages after the United States imposed sanctions on Russian aluminium giant Rusal.

Aluminium prices are up more than 10 percent since the sanctions were announced.

The LME will suspend Rusal's aluminium from April 17, but metal already in warehouses before sanctions will be unaffected.

However, banks and traders will not want to risk holding any Rusal aluminium they already have in case of secondary sanctions and will deliver it to warehouses approved by the LME, used as a market of last resort, sources say.

"Stocks are going to be a key indicator in coming days," said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke. "Rusal metal will find its way to LME warehouses."

DOLLAR: A higher U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies, which could undermine demand as funds use the relationship to trade on buy and sell signals from numerical models.

STOCKS: Inventories of aluminium in LME warehouses jumped 94,450 tonnes or 7.5 percent to 1,345,225 tonnes <MALSTX-TOTAL>, their highest since July last year. The bulk of the metal arrived at LME Dutch warehouses in Vlissingen and Rotterdam.

PREMIUM: Traders said the premium for nearby aluminium over the three-month contract <CMAL0-3> at above $8 a tonne would also attract metal to the exchange.

CHINA: Aluminium prices are also under pressure from record high stocks of nearly one million tonnes in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

SRB: Zinc prices were down 4 percent at $3,110 a tonne from an earlier four-month low at $3,098. They came under pressure from talk that China's State Reserve Bureau had been selling zinc stockpiles. The SRB did not reply to requests for comment.

NICKEL: Worries that Norilsk Nickel could face sanctions also boosted nickel prices this week. They were down 1.6 percent $13,650 a tonne compared with a four-week high of $13,900 hit on Wednesday.

PRICES: Copper was down 2.1 percent at $6,805 a tonne, lead fell 2.8 percent to $2,342 and tin lost 0.5 percent to $20,890.

(Editing by David Evans)