BEIJING, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Most base metals rose on
Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would be patient
with interest rate hikes, although a second straight monthly
contraction in manufacturing activity in top metals consumer
China capped gains.
    Lower interest rates tend to push commodity prices higher
because they mean lower inventory financing costs.
    London nickel gained for a third day -- and a sixth session
in seven -- as concerns grew that the disaster at Vale's iron
ore mine in Brazil will impact other metals.
    "Vale is one of the world's largest nickel producers, and
there are increasing concerns that the company may be forced to
close its Brazil nickel operations as it undertakes an
environmental audit," ANZ wrote in a note.
    Nickel is on track to rise more than 15 percent in London in
January, making it the top performer this month, as inventories
hover just above their lowest since 2013. MNISTX-TOTAL
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
 climbed 0.3 percent to $6,154.50 a tonne as of 0440 GMT,
extending a 1.4 percent jump from Wednesday. The most-traded
March contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up
0.8 percent to 48,110 yuan ($7,179.42).
    * COPPER: The metal used in construction and manufacturing
is on track for a 3.2 percent gain in London in January.
    * JIANGXI: Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese copper
producer Jiangxi Copper Co rose as much as 5.3 percent
to their highest since August after the company said it expects
its 2018 profit to increase by 50 percent.
    * USD: The dollar index was down 0.1 percent at 95.25
and near a three-week low, after falling 0.43 percent overnight
on the Fed comments.  
    * CHINA: The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for
January ticked up fractionally to 49.5, but remained below the
50-point level that separates growth from contraction on a
monthly basis.
    * NICKEL: Russia's Norilsk Nickel, which vies with
Vale to be the world's top nickel producer, plans to boost
nickel output to 220,000-225,000 tonnes this year.
     * ALUMINIUM: London aluminium edged up 0.3 percent
to $1,915 a tonne and is heading for a 3.7 percent rise in
January amid tightening stocks, which would mark its best month
since April 2018 when prices spiked on the now-withdrawn U.S.
sanctions on Rusal.