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METALS-Copper marks time ahead of key U.S data next week

SYDNEY, June 23 (Reuters) - Copper and other major base metals were little changed in early Asian trading on Friday, with investors marking time ahead of next week's U.S. inflation-linked indicators.

U.S. data due next week include the June consumer confidence indicator, pending home sales, crude oil inventories, revised first quarter GDP and the PCE price index. ECONUS

FUNDAMENTALS

*COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange stood at $5,741 a tonne by 0100 GMT, $2 below the close of the last session.

* The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange opened 0.20 percent higher at 46,070 yuan ($6,743)a tonne.

* ZAMBIA COPPER: Copper production in Zambia, Africa's No.2 producer of the metal, is expected to rise to 850,000 tonnes in 2017 from 770,597 tonnes last year.

* ALUMINIUM PUSHBACK: China pushed back on Thursday at charges by U.S. manufacturers and labor unions that it has flooded the market with cheap aluminum and put U.S. producers out of business, saying unilateral punitive trade measures should not be used to try to remedy a global glut of the metal.

* ALUMINIUM: Benchmark LME aluminum was steady at $1,870 a tonne. ShFE aluminum was down 0.43 percent.

* CROSS SECTOR OUTLOOK: Commodities are on track to end H1 2017 down 11 percent, distinguishing them as the worst-performing asset class this year, according to JP Morgan. "The second half should deliver limited mean reversion through higher energy prices, lower precious and base metals and higher agricultural commodities," it said in a report.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares balked at the starting gate on Friday but remained on track for a weekly gain, while crude oil prices pulled away from this week's 10-month lows.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0645 France Final GDP Q1 0700 France Markit manufacturing flash PMI Jun 0730 Germany Markit manufacturing flash PMI Jun 0800 Euro zone Markit manufacturing flash PMI Jun 1345 U.S. Markit manufacturing flash PMI Jun 1400 U.S. New home sales May

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 6.8324 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Vyas Mohan)