Wires

METALS-Shanghai lead marks best day in 5 months on restocking, pollution alert

Himani Sarkar)

alert@ (Adds Shanghai closing prices, analyst's comments and China data) BEIJING, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Lead futures in China closed up 2.15% on Wednesday, after marking their biggest percentage gain in 5 months earlier in the session, buoyed by expectations that restocking of the battery-material would continue through January. "Domestic lead prices were driven by restocking expectations and amid the heavy pollution alert in Henan province," Jinrui Futures analysts wrote in a note on Wednesday. "There's still downstream restocking expectation at this year end, which may extend to early January," the note in Mandarin said. China's central province of Henan, home to several lead smelters, issued a heavy pollution alert last week under which industrial plants need to cut production and road transport. Copper futures in China rose on Wednesday after a Sino-U.S. trade deal removed some worries about the global economy's health, but trading was thin as many investors stayed on the sidelines due to Christmas holidays. "Market still holds relatively big expectations from domestic stabilization policies, and the Phase 1 trade deal with the United States also is good news ... copper prices might maintain a relatively strong trend," Huatai Futures analysts wrote in a note to clients. A meeting to discuss the treatment and refining charges for the first quarter next year is scheduled to be held on Thursday. The charges are paid by copper miners to smelters to process ore into refined metal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most traded February lead contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 2.15% at 15,225 yuan per tonne. It had risen as much as 2.21%, marking the biggest percentage gain since July 10.

* The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.63% at 49,600 yuan a tonne.

* There was no trading on the London Metal Exchange on account of the market being closed for Christmas holidays.

* China's November refined copper cathode imports rose 8.2% to 354,815 tonnes month-on-month.

* China's monthly nickel ore imports from top miner Indonesia rose to a near 6-year high in November although its overall intake fell, as buyers raced to secure as much material as possible ahead of a ban on Indonesian exports starting in January.

* China's Shanghai Futures Exchange has said it will relax trading position limits on its product contracts from next year to encourage market participation.

* U.S. President Donald Trump has said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a ceremony to sign the first phase of their trade deal agreed to this month.

* China listed its first non-ferrous metals exchange traded fund on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

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MARKETS NEWS

* There is no Global Markets report on Wednesday as many financial markets are closed.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Three month LME aluminum

aluminum Three month LME zinc

Three month LME lead

Three month LME nickel

Three month LME tin

ARBS

(Reporting by Shivani Singh and Min Zhang in Beijing; Editing