METALS-Nickel falls on trade fears, China stainless steel oversupply

(Adds more comments, updates prices) MANILA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Nickel prices slid on Wednesday, with the Shanghai benchmark hitting its lowest in more than four months, on concerns that an expanded and longer trade war may dent demand for the key ingredient in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries. Stainless steel oversupply in China, the world's top metals consumer, has also pressured nickel prices. After announcing tariffs on steel and aluminium from Argentina and Brazil and threatening duties on French goods, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that a trade deal with China may come only after the November 2020 U.S. election.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange fell

1.3% to $13,200 a tonne, by 0715 GMT, extending declines from Tuesday. The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures

Exchange ended down 4.0% at 104,020 yuan ($14,777.88) a

tonne, the seventh consecutive session of declines and its weakest since July 29. Nickel is the only base metal with gains this year, but "current actions over global tariffs have changed the driving force behind this...price performance", said Natalie Scott-Gray, senior metals analyst at INTL FCStone. "These actions have transformed nickel's story of heightened supply concerns in Q3, to one more commonly associated with its base metal group characteristics, of weak demand," she said. Prices of stainless steel continued to decline in China, while inventory remains at a high level, driving nickel prices lower, said Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities.

TRADE DEAL: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday rejected any deadlines on a trade deal with China and launched a

fresh attack on Chinese telecoms company Huawei .

UIGHUR BILL: Trump's comments that a trade agreement with China may have to wait until late 2020 and a House of Representatives bill targeting camps for Muslims in Xinjiang have cast doubt on a near-term deal to end the trade war. COPPER: Low inventories across the copper supply chain mean that any resolution to the U.S.-China trade war could trigger a snap rally in prices as consumers rush to restock, market participants said.

OTHER METAL PRICES: LME copper was up 0.1%, whileShanghai copper slipped 0.3%. LME zinc rose 1.1% andShanghai zinc gained 0.4%.

PRICES Three month LME copper Most active ShFE copper Three month LME aluminium Most active ShFE aluminium 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


($1 = 7.0389 yuan)

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz, Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sriraj Kalluvila)