MANILA: Shanghai base metals fell on Tuesday, with nickel retreating from a near five-month high, as the U.S. dollar strengthened and the outlook for demand remained uncertain as China cut its economic growth target but pledged more stimulus measures.
A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated metals more expensive for holders of other currencies, which can weigh on prices.
China is targeting economic growth of 6.0 percent to 6.5 percent in 2019, Premier Li Keqiang said at Tuesday's opening of the annual meeting of China's parliament, less than the 6.6 percent gross domestic product growth reported last year.
"The wide target range highlights the risk of growth slowing to the bottom of the range of 6 percent," said analyst Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities.
But she said China's 2019 economic plan is "encouraging" and shows it is aware of the risks and has "ammunitions" to face the challenges ahead.
China will boost its economic stimulus measures by cutting billions of dollars in taxes and fees, increasing infrastructure investment, and stepping up lending to small firms.
* SHFE NICKEL: The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell as much as 1.2 percent to 103,450 yuan ($15,431.09) a tonne.
* LME NICKEL: Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.4 percent to hit a fresh six-month peak of $13,440 a tonne by 0533 GMT, amid expectations of a fourth consecutive year of supply deficit.
* NICKEL STOCKS: Nickel inventories in LME-registered warehouses <MNI-STOCKS> have declined to just under 197,000 tonnes, down from more than 330,000 tonnes a year ago.
* COPPER: Shanghai copper fell as much as 1.5 percent to 49,610 yuan a tonne, while three-month LME copper edged up 0.6 percent to $6,449 a tonne.
* TECHNICALS: LME copper is biased to break a support at $6,441 per tonne and fall into a range of $6,304-$6,389 in a week, as suggested by its wave pattern and a projection analysis.
* DOLLAR: The dollar held near a two-week high against its key rivals on Tuesday, underpinned by a resilient economy and a flagging euro ahead of an upcoming European Central Bank policy meeting.
* TRADE WAR: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he thought the United States and China were "on the cusp" of a deal to end their trade war, adding to positive signs about negotiations from both sides of the Pacific.
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* Asian shares stepped back on Tuesday, weighed by U.S. growth concerns and as China cut its economic expansion target amid growing challenges from rising debt and a dispute over trade and technology with the United States.