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METALS-Nickel surges to 11-mth high on funds buying

Mai Nguyen

(Recasts, updates prices & quotes)

SINGAPORE, July 16 (Reuters) - Nickel prices on Tuesday jumped to their highest in 11 months as some funds pushed up their purchase of the metal pegged to benefit from the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Benchmark three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) climbed as much as 2.3% to $13,980 a tonne, its highest since August 2018.

Shanghai nickel also touched an 11-month high of 109,710 yuan ($15,955.73) a tonne during Asian trading hours before paring some of the gains, and ended up 4.1% at 109,460 yuan a tonne.

"It's CTA (commodity trading advisers) momentum buying ... that is pushing things (nickel) higher," said a metals broker.

LME nickel has been the best performing base metal so far this year, rising 30% as of Tuesday while most other base metals have been falling, as investors bet on the rising demand for the EV battery input metal and falling stockpiles.

Prices of nickel, now mainly used in the stainless steel industry, have also been recently boosted by worries of ore supplies from major producer Indonesia due to a 2022 export ban.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: LME copper rose 0.5% to $6,010.50 a tonne at 0812 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended 0.3% higher at 46,910 yuan a tonne.

* PRICES: London aluminum edged up 0.1% and zinc rose 0.5%. In Shanghai, aluminum increased 0.4%, zinc advanced 0.2% and lead jumped 1.4%.

* CHINA OUTPUT: China's June refined copper output rose 11.8% year-on-year to 804,000 tonnes, its highest since December 2018, while alumina output rose by 5.4% year-on-year to 6.41 million tonnes in June, its highest in more than two years.

* CHINA FISCAL: China's fiscal spending increased 10.7% in the first six months from a year earlier, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, underlining the government's bid to support the slowing economy.

* CHINA INVESTMENT: China's fixed-asset investment project approval in the first six months increased 81% by value compared with a year earlier as Beijing ramped up infrastructure spending to help support a slowing economy.

* RIO TINTO COPPER: Rio Tinto on Tuesday flagged a cost blowout of up to $1.9 billion and a delay of up to 30 months at its Oyu Tolgoi underground copper mine in Mongolia, the miner's key growth project.

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PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 6.8759 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; ; editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Gopakumar Warrier)