METALS-LME copper slips for fourth day ahead of Fed meeting

BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) - London Metal Exchange (LME) copper prices lost ground for the fourth session on Tuesday, tracking a fall in equities as investors trimmed positions ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting starting later in the day, while the dollar edged upwards. A stronger dollar makes metals more expensive for holders of other currencies and can weigh on prices.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the LME had fallen 0.3 percent to $6,836 a tonne by 0154 GMT, extending a 0.5-percent dip from the previous session.

* SHE COPPER: The most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down for a third straight day, falling by 0.6 percent to 51,290 yuan ($8,109.48) a tonne.

* SHFE ALUMINIUM: Aluminium, the only base metal in positive territory in Shanghai, was up 0.1 percent at 14,020 yuan a tonne, following warnings of bauxite shortages in China from state-backed Chinese research house Antaike.

* ALUMINIUM: Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko said on Tuesday that there was a high possibility Japan would be exempted from U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium on a per-item basis.

* MONGOLIA: Switzerland's highest court has upheld the seizure of $1.85 million in Swiss bank accounts, part of a corruption probe linked to a former Mongolian finance minister who helped clear the way for a disputed Rio Tinto mining project, a ruling showed.

* COBALT: Nervous Asian battery makers are turning to early-stage cobalt projects in Australia and Canada to lock in supplies of the critical battery ingredient ahead of expected shortages as demand for electric vehicles revs up.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares fell on Tuesday as investors dumped high-flying U.S. technology shares on fears of stiffer regulation as Facebook came under fire following reports it allowed improper access to user data.

PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0154 GMT Three month LME copper 6836 Most active ShFE copper 51290 Three month LME aluminium 2089.5 Most active ShFE aluminium 14020 Three month LME zinc 3237 Most active ShFE zinc 24735 Three month LME lead 2362 Most active ShFE lead 18350 Three month LME nickel 13530 Most active ShFE nickel 102320 Three month LME tin 0 Most active ShFE tin 144170

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 1011.96 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1323.67 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 477.45 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 226.12 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1099.64

($1 = 6.3247 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly Editing by Joseph Radford)