METALS-London aluminum drops as Hydro restarts Brazil operations; tin sinks

(Adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices) BEIJING, Dec 30 (Reuters) - London aluminum prices fell on Monday, heading for their first drop in seven sessions after Norsk Hydro said it had resumed bauxite production in Brazil and was ramping up alumina output, while tin hit a more than two-week low. Bauxite is a rock refined to make alumina, which is then used to produce aluminum metal. A power outage earlier this month had affected production at Hydro's Paragominas mine and Alunorte alumina refinery, supporting aluminum prices. An acceleration in aluminum processing ahead of the week-long Lunar New year holiday in China, the world's top producer and consumer of the metal, in late-January is already coming to an end, Jinrui Futures said in a note, adding that environmental curbs were also affecting downstream demand. "Consumption will gradually decline, while the trend of supply growth remains unchanged," the Chinese brokerage wrote, noting that new projects such as Henan Shenhuo's smelter in Yunnan were about to come on line.


* ALUMINIUM: Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4% to $1,817.50 by 0723 GMT after closing up 0.6% on Friday. The most traded February aluminum contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.2% at 14,090 yuan a tonne by the end of the morning session as ShFE stocks continue to fall.

* ALUMINIUM: Premiums for aluminum shipments to Japan for the first quarter of 2020 were set at $83 per tonne, down 14% from the previous quarter amid soft demand from electronics and auto companies, two sources directly involved in the pricing talks said.

* CHINA: China's central bank will use the loan prime rate (LPR) as a new benchmark for pricing existing floating-rate loans, in a step that analysts say could help lower borrowing costs and underpin economic growth.

* TIN: ShFE tin prices fell as much as 3.8% in Friday's night session to 133,000 yuan a tonne, the lowest since Nov. 20, after Shanghai tin stocks rose by almost one-third to 5,351 tonnes, but recovered to close down 1.4% on 136,360 yuan. LME tin slid for a fifth day, losing as much as 1.2% to $16,920 a tonne, its lowest since Dec. 12.

* OTHER METALS: LME copper rose 0.4% to $6,237.50 a tonne in holiday-thinned trade, while ShFE copper closed down 0.4% at 49,510 yuan a tonne. London zinc added 0.5%, while nickel climbed 0.3% and lead lost 0.2%.

MARKETS A broad gauge of Asian share markets rose to an 18-month high on Monday as Chinese equities gained.







3 ($1 = 6.9825 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Uttaresh.V)