Jan 25 (Reuters) - Nickel prices tumbled on Tuesday on
profit-taking, ahead of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve
and holidays next week in China, with the Shanghai futures
market hitting the session's 8% lower limit after a blistering
rally to record highs.
The most-traded March nickel contract on the Shanghai
Futures Exchange dropped to as low as 163,460 yuan ($25,823.88)
Nickel futures in top consumer China scaled fresh
peaks above 180,000 yuan on Monday, supported by concerns over
low inventories at exchanges and robust demand prospects.
Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange was
down 1.3% at $22,115 a tonne, as of 0553 GMT, extending losses
after a 6.8% slump on Monday.
The metal used to make stainless steel and chemicals for
electric vehicle batteries touched $24,435 a tonne last week,
the highest since August 2011.
Traders said the adjustments in transaction fees and margin
requirements for nickel, tin and stainless steel announced by
the Shanghai exchange on Monday also prompted profit-taking.
But "there has been no significant change in the
fundamentals of nickel," said Huatai Futures analysts in a note.
"The global refined nickel inventory continues to decline and is
at a low level."
* The Federal Reserve will begin its two-day meeting later
on Tuesday, with worries over a more hawkish U.S. central bank
roiling asset markets around the globe.
* Geopolitical tensions added to investors' concerns as the
U.S. Department of Defense has announced that about 8,500
American troops were awaiting orders to deploy should Russia
* Rio Tinto Plc and the Mongolian
government have reached an agreement to end a long-running
dispute over the $6.93 billion expansion project for the Oyu
Tolgoi copper-gold mining project.
* Shanghai tin shed 4.3% to 317,150 yuan a tonne,
copper fell 1.7% to 69,890 yuan, aluminium
slipped 0.3% to 21,135 yuan, zinc dropped 1% to 24,790
yuan, and lead lost 1.7% to 15,495 yuan.
* LME tin slumped 1.8% to $41,800 a tonne, copper
was up 0.1% at $9,736.50, aluminium gained 0.2%
to $3,035.50, zinc was virtually flat at $3,595, while
lead shed 0.7% to $2,342.
($1 = 6.3298 yuan)
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Rashmi
Aich and Shailesh Kuber)