LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) – Zinc prices gained for a fifth straight session on Tuesday, hitting the highest in over two weeks as investors bet that supplies were tightening.
A steady drumbeat of news has encouraged bulls recently, including news of a market deficit, an expected strike in major producer Peru and declining inventories.
Aluminium and nickel have also been lifted by news that could mean lower supplies of metal.
“You’ve got some news with a bullish tone, so that’s supporting the market, but I don’t know how sustainable all this will be,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, Partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.
“We have a small long, but we’re not married to this position because the general outlook is still not really bullish. Monetary tightening in China is still taking place.”
* ZINC: Benchmark zinc on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.6 percent at $2,571 a tonne by 1040 GMT after touching $2,581.50, the highest since June 1.
“The underperformance of LME zinc in 2Q’17 appears poised to reverse as nascent fundamentals finally buttress modest support,” Citi analyst Nell Agate said in a note.
A planned nation-wide mining strike in Peru due to start on July 9 could halt production of about 10,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate from the Antamina mine, Agate added.
* NICKEL: LME nickel rose 0.7 percent to $9,065 a tonne. About a dozen newly constructed nickel smelters in Indonesia have stopped operations due to a plunge in nickel prices, while others are operating at a loss, an industry association executive said on Monday.
In the short term, nickel has the most upside potential because it has lagged the other LME metals recently, Torlizzi said.
* ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium added 0.6 percent to $1,898 a tonne on continued concern about a crackdown by the Chinese government on illegal and polluting smelters.
Data released on Tuesday, however, showed that overall aluminium output rose slightly last month both in top producer China and in the rest of the world.
* COPPER: LME copper fell 0.5 percent to $5,697 a tonne, following a 1 percent gain in the previous session. Prices have found support at around $5,645 a tonne and a ceiling at around $5,800 a tonne.
* TIN: LME tin dipped 0.2 percent to $19,540 a tonne, weighed down by news that China’s Yunnan Tin Co Ltd the world’s biggest tin producer, says it has received government approval for so-called “processing trade”, churning out refined metal for export using concentrate shipped in from abroad.