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METALS-Base metals decline as Fed minutes temper rate-cut expectations

Mai Nguyen

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Most industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) slipped on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled that it was not on a preset path to more monetary policy easing and expectations of softer demand growth in top consumer China.

Interest rate cuts by the Fed could lead to a weaker U.S. currency, which makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper for users of other currencies.

Minutes of Fed's last month meeting showed policymakers were deeply divided over whether to cut interest rates, but were united in wanting to signal they were not on a preset path to more rates cuts.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4% to $5,712 a tonne by 0354 GMT, aluminum dipped 0.1%, nickel dropped 1.5%, zinc decreased 1.3% and lead was 0.9% lower.

"Copper and aluminum demand growth (in China) will only post a modest recovery from current levels, as the autos and consumer sectors ... will only improve marginally in 2020 compared to the infrastructure sector," Fitch said in a report.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CODELCO: Chile's Codelco, the world's top copper producer, said on Wednesday it had shut down its Ventanas smelter along Chile's central coast for maintenance until Sept. 3, but it would not impact production.

* TIN: LME tin edged up 0.1% after hitting its lowest in more than three years in the previous session, while ShFE tin fell 0.6%.

* NICKEL: The global nickel market deficit narrowed to 45,100 tonnes in the first six months of this year, compared to a deficit of 85,200 tonnes in the same period of 2018, data from the International Nickel Study Group showed.

* EV: Chinese electric car maker BYD Co Ltd's, first-half profit soared after it sold 145,653 so-called new energy vehicles (NEVs) between January and June, up 94.5% from a year earlier.

* ZINC: The global zinc market swung into a 10,900 tonne surplus in June from a revised deficit of 38,200 tonnes in May, data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) showed.

* LEAD: The global lead market recorded a widening deficit of 65,000 tonnes in the first half of 2019, compared to a deficit of 37,000 tonnes during the same period last year, ILZSG data showed.

* LYNAS: Rare earths miner Lynas Corp Ltd, the only major proven producer of rare earths outside China, confirmed the receipt of a renewed operating license from Malaysia for its processing plant there.

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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 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen: Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)