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Nickel and tin boosted by low inventories and China outlook

* High premiums point to tight supply

* China acts to support property sector

* Tin price has almost doubled this year (Updates prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Nickel neared seven-year highs and tin reached a record peak before taking a breather later on Thursday, both boosted by low inventories which pointed to tight supply and China’s efforts to support its economy which bolstered the outlook for demand.

Prices eased off their peaks when trading restarted at 1300 GMT in China, where despite promises of state support, the property sector is grappling with a debt crisis.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.8% at $20,685 a tonne at 1700 GMT after reaching $21,100, just below last month’s high of $21,425.

LME tin was down 1.1% at $39,530 a tonne after rising to its highest on record at $40,680.

Nickel is used in stainless steel and is up about 25% this year. Tin is used in solder for electronics and it has almost doubled in price since the start of 2021.

“Inventory levels have come down tremendously. This speaks in favour of strong demand,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

“China also seems to be open to more fiscal policy support over the next few months. This should result in stronger demand for metals.”

However, prices are now so high that scope for further rapid gains is limited, he added.

RALLIES: Base metals have rallied since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, buoyed by economic stimulus from governments across the globe.

NICKEL: On-warrant nickel inventories in LME-registered warehouses have fallen to 62,304 tonnes from more than 200,000 tonnes in April. <MNISTX-TOTAL>

Tight supply has pushed cash nickel’s premium over the three-month LME contract to $194 a tonne, its highest since 2019. <CMNI0-3>

TIN: LME on-warrant stocks of tin have risen to 1,000 tonnes from a historic low of 255 tonnes in October but remain far below typical levels. <MSNSTX-TOTAL>

A hefty $1,075 premium for cash tin over three-month metal points to a lack of available material. <CMSN0-3>

ECONOMY: The U.S. economy is accelerating, but surging coronavirus infections threaten German growth.

PERU: Hochschild Mining said that two Peruvian mines threatened with closure would continue to operate.

PRICES: LME copper was down 0.5% at $9,789.50 a tonne, aluminium was up 0.6% at $2,720, zinc fell 0.5% to $3,307 and lead was up 0.7% at $2,280.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson Additional reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by Elaine Hardcastle, Kirsten Donovan)

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