BEIJING, March 2 (Reuters) – Shanghai aluminium prices edged down on Friday after earlier hitting over two-week highs following U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to impose a 10 percent tariff on imports of the metal. Lower Chinese exports to the United States could leave China’s domestic market in greater surplus, but Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong played down the significance of move. The „import duty increase on aluminium products will have a small impact on China’s aluminium export and domestic market, in our view,“ the brokerage wrote in a note. „China’s aluminium products exports to U.S. accounted for around 14 percent of its total exports in 2017 and represent only 1 percent of China’s total aluminium production,“ it added. FUNDAMENTALS: * SHFE ALUMINIUM: The most-traded April aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) closed down 0.1 percent at 14,340 yuan ($2,259.98) a tonne. It had earlier climbed to as high as 14,480 yuan, its highest since Feb. 12. It gained 0.8 percent this week, its best weekly rise since the week ending Dec. 29. * LME ALUMINIUM: Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.3 percent at $2,140 a tonne as of 0718 GMT. * ALUMINIUM: U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium to protect U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighbouring Canada. * PREMIUMS: Premiums for aluminium in the United States spiked to the highest in almost three years as buyers sought to secure metal before higher costs come into force. * COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.1 percent at $6,925.50 a tonne. * SHFE COPPER: The most traded Shanghai copper contract closed down 0.1 percent at 52,320 yuan a tonne. Market open interest on ShFE copper surged to 855,760 lots on Thursday, its highest since November 2015.* NICKEL: Shanghai nickel was the biggest loser, slipping 2.2 percent to 102,180 yuan a tonne, tracking a 2.3 percent dip in London on Thursday amid a stainless steel inventory overhang.

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