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London base metals fell on Friday as a stronger-than-expected US inflation data stoked worries about a more aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, though all metals, led by aluminium, were on track for weekly gains.

Aluminium prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped in morning trade, while other base metals advanced, with copper rising to its highest level in nearly four months following the release of upbeat bank lending data in China.

Fundamentals

  • Three-month LME aluminium, which scaled to its highest level in more than 13 years on Thursday, was down 1.3% at $3,207 a tonne, as of 0341 GMT.

    • Although worries about smelter shutdowns in China and Europe and dwindling inventories at exchange warehouses have fanned fears about shortages, putting the lightweight metal on track for weekly gain of more than 4%.

Aluminium hits 13-year high as supply fears outweigh inflows

  • The US central bank is facing increasing pressure to take a stronger stand against inflation following an unexpectedly large jump in US consumer prices in January.

    • New aluminium arrivals in LME warehouses sent on-warrant stockpiles soaring by 42% to 595,150 tonnes, data showed on Thursday, easing worries about supply.
  • The most-traded March aluminium contract on the Shanghai exchange ended the morning trade 2% lower at 22,775 yuan ($3,580.92) a tonne, on track for its first loss in eight sessions.

  • New bank lending in China more than tripled in January from the previous month, beating forecasts and hitting a record high, as the central bank seeks to shore up slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.

  • Indonesia has suspended the operations of more than 1,000 miners of coal, tin and other minerals due to a failure to submit 2022 work plans, according to a document reviewed by Reuters issued by the Minerals and Coal Directorate of the mining ministry.

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