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METALS-Copper slips, on course for biggest weekly drop since early Dec

BEIJING, Feb 9 (Reuters) - London copper prices edged down early on Friday, extending into a third day the recent declines triggered by the rout in global equity markets and another big rise in inventories on Thursday. The losses have put copper, which is now trading below the $7,000 a tonne mark that had provided support so far in 2018, on course for a weekly drop of 3.1 percent, its biggest since early December.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.3 percent at $6,822.50 a tonne by 0217 GMT, after shedding 0.5 percent in the previous session, as the dollar edged upward. A stronger dollar makes metals more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* LME STOCKS: On-warrant copper inventories in warehouses certified by the London Metal Exchange <MCUSTX-TOTAL> - those not earmarked for delivery - jumped by 25,700 tonnes on Thursday and have surged by 75 percent over the past three weeks.

* SHFE COPPER: The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 1 percent to 51,650 yuan ($8,175.70) a tonne and has lost around 2.6 percent so far this week.

* COPPER: Copper bulls who are betting on labour strife this year due to a full calendar of contract talks may be disappointed if early wage deals at two copper mines are a signpost for further agreements with mine workers.

* LEAD: LME lead was up 0.4 percent to $2,535 but remains the worst off in a bad week for base metals, on course for a 5.5 percent weekly fall, its biggest in almost a year.

* ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium was down 0.2 percent at $2,166.50 a tonne, while ShFE aluminium was down 0.5 percent at 14,180 a tonne, close to the 14,095 yuan a tonne one-year low touched on Wednesday, amid record-high Chinese inventories.

* U.S. aluminum foil producers on Thursday described a systematic effort by Chinese competitors to force them out of the business, arguing before a U.S. trade panel that they need anti-dumping duties to survive and invest.

* ZINC: Zinc smelters are set to accept lower fees for processing concentrate into metal when annual contracts are hammered out next week at a conference in California, as a crunch in mine supply stretches into a third year.

* MINOR METALS: Antimony prices hit their highest since June 2017 on limited supply from China because of severe weather conditions, the Chinese New Year holiday and mine shutdowns resulting from the country's environmental crackdown.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks tumbled on Friday after Wall Street shares suffered yet another big slide amid worries over rising bond yields, while perceived havens such as the yen and Swiss franc drew demand amid the turmoil.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0130 China Consumer prices Jan 0130 China Producer prices Jan 0745 France Industrial output Dec 1500 U.S. Wholesale sales Dec

PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0214 GMT Three month LME copper 6819 Most active ShFE copper 51650 Three month LME aluminium 2165.5 Most active ShFE aluminium 14180 Three month LME zinc 3389.5 Most active ShFE zinc 26180 Three month LME lead 2531.5 Most active ShFE lead 19085 Three month LME nickel 13025 Most active ShFE nickel 99810 Three month LME tin 21460 Most active ShFE tin 148970

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 1423.22 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1672.92 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 778.15 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -241.76 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2451.55

($1 = 6.3175 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Sunil Nair)