BEIJING, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminium prices fell
on Tuesday, after Malaysia said it would not extend a moratorium
on mining bauxite when it expires on March 31, potentially
reducing costs in the aluminium supply chain for top producer
China.
    Bauxite is a rock refined to make alumina, which is then
used to make aluminium metal. Chinese aluminium prices have been
struggling to move away from two-year lows amid weak domestic
demand and plentiful supply.
    "Not only is there a lack of fundamental support for the
aluminium market, the cost support from bauxite may start to
fade," Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities, said in a
note, adding that in 2015, before the moratorium, Malaysia
accounted for over 40 percent of China's total imports.
    Australian bauxite prices SMM-BAUX-AUSTA spiked to a near
three-year high in January but have since eased.
    "Recently the increased exports from Guinea and ...
Australia have gradually taken the market share away from
Malaysia. That said, Malaysia may still be a potential threat
... due to its proximity to China," Lau added.
                   
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * SHFE ALUMINIUM: The most traded aluminium contract
 on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 0.3 percent to
13,405 yuan ($1,978.89) a tonne by the end of the morning.
Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was
up 0.1 percent at $1,858 a tonne.
    * ALUMINIUM: Mining giant Glencore has bought 200,000 tonnes
of aluminium on the LME and will take delivery of the metal from
warehouses owned by ISTIM UK in Port Klang, Malaysia, five
sources familiar with the matter said.
    * RUSAL: Russia's Rusal is in talks to resume
reinsuring its risks with Western companies after Washington
lifted sanctions on it, officials with Russian National
Reinsurance Co (RNRC) said.     
    * COPPER: Three-month LME copper edged down 0.2
percent to $6,260 a tonne, on course to snap a run of four
straight daily gains on optimism over U.S.-China trade talks.
ShFE copper was up 1.2 percent, tracking Monday's jump
in the LME price, which was also driven by supply concerns.
    * VEDANTA: India's Supreme Court on Monday set aside an
order by an environmental court which had cleared the way for
reopening Vedanta's south Indian copper smelter, in a
blow to the company's plans to begin operations.
    * TRADE: Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington
on Thursday and Friday to continue trade negotiations with the
United States, China's Commerce Ministry said.