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Aluminium Hits Record as Ukraine Invasion Fuels Supply Fears

Feb 24 (Reuters) - London aluminium prices jumped to a record high on Thursday after Moscow's military actions in Ukraine fuelled concerns of reduced supplies from Russia, a major metals producer, and an impact from high power prices.

Russian forces fired missiles at several Ukrainian cities and landed troops on its south coast on Thursday, officials and media said. U.S. President Joe Biden said he would announce further sanctions on Russia on Thursday, in addition to financial measures imposed this week.

Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange hit a record high of $3,443 a tonne earlier in the session, and was up 4.2% at $3,428.5 by 0750 GMT.

"Aluminium and nickel are energy intensive metals and higher energy prices would further push the cost curve. This raises risk of more European smelters suspending their production or postponing their restart plans," ANZ analyst Soni Kumari said.

Germany halted the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline owned by Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom on Tuesday, boosting gas prices in Europe.

LME nickel climbed 3.4% to $25,220 a tonne, having earlier hit a peak since May 2011 at $25,240.

The most-traded April nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 1.2% higher at 179,540 yuan ($28,425.32) a tonne, after touching a record high of 182,170 yuan.

"These are war times and markets are edgy about supply-side disruptions," said Vijay L Bhambwani, head of research at Mumbai-based Equitymaster, adding there are possibilities of sanctions on Russian metal companies.

Russia produces around 6% of the world's aluminium and 7% of its mined nickel. Sanctions on aluminium producer Rusal in 2018 drove the metal's price up 35% in days.


* LME copper eased 0.1% to $9,856.5 a tonne, lead was up 0.6% at $2,350 and zinc gained 0.8% to $3,599. Tin was 0.8% higher at $45,295 a tonne after touching a record high of $45,300.

* ShFE copper fell 0.4% to 70,960 yuan a tonne, aluminium edged 0.3% higher to 22,950 yuan, zinc slipped 1.6% to 24,740 yuan, lead eased 0.1% to 15,540 yuan and tin gained 0.7% to 339,420 yuan.

* Global stocks and U.S. bond yields dived on Thursday, while the dollar, gold and oil prices rocketed higher.

* China has set a "reasonable" price range for the benchmark 5,500 kcal thermal coal at Qinghuangdao Port for medium- and long-term trading at 570-770 yuan ($86.98-$121.77) a tonne, the country's state planner said on Thursday.

($1 = 6.3162 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Source: Reuters

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