METALS-LME copper falls for third day, heads for worst week in four

BEIJING, Aug 3 (Reuters) - London Metal Exchange copper prices were lower for a third day in early Asian trade on Friday, as the prospect of an all-out Sino-U.S. trade war continued to outweigh a looming strike at the world's largest copper mine. LME copper is on course for a drop of 3 percent this week, despite the risk of imminent supply disruption at BHP's Escondida mine in Chile, which would mark its steepest weekly fall since the week ended July 6.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the LME slipped 0.4 percent to $6,114.50 a tonne by 0200 GMT, extending a 0.5 percent drop in the previous session.

* SHFE COPPER: The most-traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged up 0.1 percent to 49,250 yuan ($7,169.48) a tonne.

* ESCONDIDA: The union at BHP Billiton's Escondida mine in Chile told the company on Thursday that it should improve its contract offer by August 6 or it would begin preparations for a strike.

* TARIFFS: New tariffs that the United States is threatening to impose on nearly half the goods imported from China would have a small impact on the Asian nation's economy and not lead to disaster, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday.

* CHINA: China is considering measures to curb pollution in its smog prone Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas during the upcoming winter season, including 30 percent production cuts on non-ferrous metal smelting, a draft plan showed on Thursday.

* KAZ: Kaz Minerals shares plunged after it said it was expanding into Russia with a deal to buy a copper project in Baimskaya for $900 million from a group of investors including Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.

* ALUMINA: The city of Chaoyang in China's northeastern province of Liaoning says it has canceled a planned alumina project after a public consultation.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks were steady on Friday, with gains from the tech-led rise on Wall Street capped by the latest exchange of trade threats between Beijing and Washington, while safe haven flows lifted the dollar to a two-week high.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0750 France Markit services PMI Jul 0755 Germany Markit services PMI Jul

0800 Euro zone Markit services PMI Jul 0900 Euro zone Retail sales Jun

1230 U.S. Nonfarm payrolls Jul 1230 U.S. Unemployment rate Jul 1230 U.S. International trade Jun 1400 U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI Jul

PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0200 GMT Three month LME copper 6114.5 Most active ShFE copper 49260 Three month LME aluminum 2040 Most active ShFE aluminum 14440 Three month LME zinc 2555.5 Most active ShFE zinc 21285 Three month LME lead 2120 Most active ShFE lead 18110 Three month LME nickel 13380 Most active ShFE nickel 110080 Three month LME tin 19565 Most active ShFE tin 145480

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 632.01 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1683.99 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 563.98 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 350.96 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2250.02

($1 = 6.8694 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly Editing by Eric Meijer)