METALS-Nickel price buoyed by strong demand, dwindling stocks

    (Recasts, adds comment, London dateline)
    By Pratima Desai
    LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Nickel prices held near their
highest in more than two months on Monday boosted by demand from
the electric vehicle battery sector lowering stocks held in
London Metal Exchange (LME) approved warehouses.
    Benchmark nickel         on the LME was up 1% at $20,940 a
tonne at 1056 GMT having last week touched $21,165 a tonne, the
highest since November 24.
    "Nickel stocks in LME warehouses are being drawn because
they can be used to make nickel sulphate for the batteries used
in electric vehicles," said ING analyst Wenyu Yao.
    Electric vehicle demand has been particularly strong in
China, where Volkswagen            , General Motors       ,
Toyota Motor Corp          and Tesla          are ramping up

    INVENTORIES: Nickel stocks in LME warehouses
at 99,954 tonnes have fallen by around 62% since April 2021.
    About 75% of the total is bagged briquette,
easily crushed into small particles and dissolved in sulphuric
acid to make nickel sulphate.
    Cancelled warrants -- metal earmarked for delivery -- at 49%
of total stocks indicate more metal is due to be delivered out
over the coming days and weeks.
    SPREADS: Worries about nickel supplies on the LME market
have created a premium of $125 a tonne for the cash over the
three-month contract , a one-month high.
    ALUMINIUM: Production cuts in Europe due to soaring power
costs are expected to fuel further rises in aluminium prices
       , which hit $2,980 a tonne on Friday, the highest since
October 21.
    It was last up 1.1% at $2,946.5 a tonne.
    Aluminium stocks in LME warehouses at 911,500 tonnes are
down more than 30% since mid-September.
    OTHER METALS: Industrial metals overall were supported by a
lower U.S. currency, which when it falls makes dollar-priced
metals cheaper for holders of other currencies.
    The dollar fell on Friday after December U.S. jobs data
missed expectations.
    Copper         was up 0.3% at $9,681 a tonne, zinc
rose 0.1% to $3,537, lead         gained 0.3% to $2,286 and tin
        rose 0.5% to $40,050.

 (Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Jason Neely)

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