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SINGAPORE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Shanghai nickel dropped to its lowest in almost four months on Thursday due to lower demand from the stainless steel industry, nickel's main consumer.
The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) fell as much as 2.1% to 111,390 yuan ($15,824.92) a tonne, its lowest since Aug. 8.
Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) dropped to a one-week low of $14,200 a tonne.
The stainless steel side has cut some product lines due to high stock and lower profits, leading to a drop in nickel pig iron (NPI) prices, which is in turn hurting prices of the refined metal, said a China-based nickel analyst.
NPI is a low-grade nickel mixture invented in China as a cheaper alternative to pure nickel for the production of stainless steel and is one of the most popular forms of nickel used in Asia.
Spot prices of NPI with 10-15% nickel content provided by Shanghai Metals Market <SMM-NIC-NPI15> fell to 1,030 yuan a tonne on Wednesday, their lowest since July 18, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.
Nickel has outperformed other base metals so far this year on supply worries ahead of a ban on exports from top nickel ore producer Indonesia, boosting LME nickel to a five-year high in September.
However, prices have since fallen due to weak demand.
* STAINLESS STEEL: China's stainless steel output in November is seen falling 2% from the previous month to 2.4 million tonnes and could fall further to 2.37 million tonnes in December, data compiled by Zljsteel at 27 Chinese mills showed.
* NICKEL PRICE: China's spot price for imported refined nickel <SMM-NIC-IMP> declined to 115,450 yuan a tonne, its lowest since Aug. 2.
* NICKEL STOCKS: Nickel inventories in LME-approved warehouses <MNISTX-TOTAL> were hovering around an 11-year low, while stocks in warehouses tracked by ShFE <SNI-TOTAL-W> have increased in recent months but were still a third of the record-high level reached in 2016.
* OTHER PRICES: LME copper fell 0.4% to $5,924 a tonne by 0444 GMT, aluminum rose 0.4% to $1,770.50 a tonne, zinc advanced 0.2% to $2,300.50 a tonne and lead increased 0.1% to $1,945.50 a tonne.
* SHANGHAI PRICES: Copper edged up 0.2% to 47,360 yuan a tonne, aluminum rose 0.4% to 13,785 yuan a tonne, zinc increased 0.1% to 18,045 yuan a tonne, lead climbed 1.1% to 15,470 yuan a tonne while tin advanced 0.1% to 138,560 yuan a tonne.
* UNITED STATES: U.S. economic growth picked up slightly in the third quarter, rather than slowing as initially reported, and there are signs the downturn in business investment may be drawing to a close.
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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 = 7.0389 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Aditya Soni)