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SINGAPORE: Shanghai nickel prices recorded their strongest weekly gain since June 2018, as investors bet on the potential demand for the metal in the electric vehicle (EV) battery sector.

Shanghai Futures Exchange's most active nickel contract  gained 5.5% this week, the strongest since the week ended June 1, 2018. The contract settled up 1.1% at 103,450 yuan ($15,051.21) a tonne, a nine-month high.

Benchmark nickel in London jumped 0.8% at 0718 GMT to $13,235 a tonne, a three-month high.

"We believe the main driver of the nickel price rally has been the sustained level of speculative buying ... due to the metal's ongoing allure as key demand-beneficiary among metals used in the growing EV battery market," Fitch said in a report.

Most other industrial metals traded in tight ranges, as investors exercised caution ahead of a key set of trade data from top metal player China due to be released later on Friday, including imports and exports figures of key base metals.

FUNDAMENTALS

* PRICES: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  edged up 0.1% at $5,958 a tonne, while aluminium fell 0.3% and zinc declined 1.2%.

* SHANGHAI: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.3% to 46,670 yuan a tonne, while aluminium fell 0.7%, zinc declined 0.4% and lead edged up 0.2%.

* TRADE WAR: U.S. President Donald Trump said China was not living up to promises it made on buying agricultural products from American farmers as the world's two largest economies work to resolve a trade dispute.

* TIN: The tin market is under greater pressure from an economic slowdown and falling demand than supply issues, where lower production from countries such as Myanmar is likely to be offset by a new project in central Africa.

Copyright Reuters, 2019