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Aluminium hits more than 10-year high as supply worries grow

MANILA: Aluminium prices hit a more than 10-year high on Thursday on concerns over supply of the energy-intensive metal, which were stoked further as several power plants in India were on the verge of running out of coal.

The inadequate coal supply in India, the second-biggest producer of primary aluminium after China, has raised concerns about a potential serious disruption in local aluminium production.

Benchmark three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.2% at $2,722 a tonne, as of 0602 GMT, after touching $2,732.50 earlier in the session, its highest since May 2011.

The most-traded October aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 1.2% to 21,415 yuan ($3,314.50) a tonne. It hit a 13-year peak of 21,550 yuan on Monday, as production curbs in key Chinese smelting regions sparked fears of tight supply.

India has urged utilities to import coal to boost domestic supply of the fuel as coal-fired generation surged after an easing of coronavirus-related curbs.

"Aluminium supply faces growing risks due to tightness in Indian coal supply," ING commodity strategists said in a note.

The country's aluminium smelters had asked state-run Coal India Ltd, the world's largest coal miner, to restore supply, they said, citing media reports.

"So far there hasn't been a meaningful impact on India's aluminium supply, but the situation is worth monitoring," ING analysts said.

* Three-month LME copper rose 0.4% to $9,369 a tonne, as the dollar loitered around multi-week lows, making greenback-priced metals cheaper to holders of other currencies.

* Shanghai's most-active October copper contract fell 0.9% to 68,960 yuan a tonne.

* China's State Reserve Bureau released its third batch of aluminium ingots into the market on Thursday, with a volume of 70,000 tonnes, slightly lower than the second batch, according to Chinese metals information provider SMM.

* LME nickel climbed 0.4% to $19,405 a tonne, but Shanghai nickel dropped 1% to 146,850 yuan a tonne. - Reuters


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