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.
    Zinc, used to galvanise steel, hit its highest since October
in London, while nickel advanced for a third day -- and a sixth
session in seven -- as fears 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 January,
the most in the base metals complex, as inventories hover just
above their lowest since 2013 MNISTX-TOTAL, followed by zinc.
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * ZINC: Three-month zinc on the London Metal Exchange
 zinc rose as much as 0.9 percent to $2,710, the highest
since Oct. 24.
    * COPPER: LME copper climbed 0.3 percent to $6,152 a
tonne as of 0440 GMT, while the most-traded contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.7 percent at
48,090 yuan ($7,179.97). 
    * JIANGXI: Shares in China's 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 0.2 percent at 95.17
and near a three-week low, after falling 0.43 percent overnight.
 
    * 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 0.2 percent
to $1,914 a tonne and is heading for its best month since April,
when prices spiked on the now-withdrawn U.S. sanctions on Rusal.