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METALS-London nickel hits 3-month low as trade row keeps market on edge

Enrico Dela Cruz

(Recasts lead, adds detail and updates prices) MANILA, May 7 (Reuters) - Most London base metals fell on Tuesday amid heightened U.S.-China trade tensions, with nickel hitting its lowest in more than three months, but news that Beijing would send a delegation to Washington this week for further talks provided some relief. Most metals on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose, with copper and nickel leading the rebound from Monday's slump. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will be in the United States on May 9 and May 10 for bilateral trade talks at the invitation of senior U.S. officials, China's commerce ministry said on Tuesday, confirming Monday's announcement by Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday he would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent by the end of the week, and target a further $325 billion of Chinese goods with 25 percent tariffs "shortly". Trump's threat was prompted by China reneging on substantial commitments it had made during the trade talks, according to U.S. trade officials. The long-standing trade conflict has slowed global economic growth and clouded the outlook for demand from top metals consumer China. "Markets got a bit of reprieve overnight on news that China's Liu would travel to Washington this week for negotiations, with China appearing to be seeking a middle ground," ANZ Research said in a note. But the current tensions "potentially could be severe enough to sink a deal altogether", said Edward Meir, analyst at brokerage INTL FCStone. "This is one of those things where political decisions will be driving the markets and so one cannot take a definitive view of what will happen next," he said.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange erased earlier gains, and was down 0.2 percent at $6,226 a tonne as of 0723 GMT.

* The founder of Maike Group, one of China's biggest metals traders, sees benchmark LME copper prices recovering to $6,500-$6,600 a tonne this year amid stable demand from top consumer China.

* The most-traded ShFE copper contract rose 0.9 percent to 48,290 yuan ($7,138.84) a tonne, after hitting its lowest in more than three months on Monday.

* Three-month LME nickel fell as much as 0.8 percent to $12,080 a tonne, its lowest since Jan. 29, while ShFE nickel , which also hit a more than three-month low on Monday, gained 0.8 percent to 96,470 yuan.

* OTHER PRICES: LME zinc was down 1.6 percent, but

ShFE zinc climbed 0.4 percent; LME tin advanced0.6 percent, while ShFE tin edged up 0.2 percent.* CHINA STIMULUS: China's central bank said on Monday it

will cut reserve requirement ratios to release about 280 billion yuan for some small- and medium-sized banks, in a targeted move to help companies struggling amid an economic slowdown.

* LME ASIA WEEK: Hong Kong stock exchange Chief Executive Charles Li said on Tuesday the bourse was in official talks with Guangdong authorities on metals warehousing, a major step towards its long-held aim of expanding in mainland China.

* LME ASIA WEEK: The Hong Kong Futures Exchange plans to launch dollar-denominated mini contracts for six base metals in the coming months, the head of market development at the LME said on Monday.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

PRICES Three month LME copper Most active ShFE copper Three month LME aluminium Most active ShFE aluminium 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 = 6.7644 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)