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METALS-London copper steadies as trade war keeps market edgy

Enrico Dela Cruz

(adds analyst comments, updates prices)

MANILA, May 20 (Reuters) - Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was barely changed on Monday after a brief rebound from last week's slump, while Shanghai metals slipped as investors remained wary about the intensifying U.S.-China trade war.

Beijing has called on Washington to show "sincerity" if it is to hold meaningful trade talks, after the United States put China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's biggest telecoms equipment maker, on a trade blacklist.

"There's a lot of headwinds and it's difficult to predict what will happen next" in the trade dispute, said Helen Lau, metals and mining analyst at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

The dispute has fuelled fears of a further global economic slowdown and weak demand for industrial metals.

But copper should find support from news about expected disruptions in scrap metal shipments to China, which may prompt the world's biggest copper consumer to ramp up its purchases of concentrates, Lau said.

"That could make supply of concentrates tighter and that is something quite positive to copper," she said.

Three-month LME copper was little changed at $6,056.6 a tonne as of 0357 GMT, from its Friday's close of $6,056.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged down 0.3% percent to 47,730 yuan ($6,911.68) a tonne.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHANGHAI PRICES: Aluminium fell 0.5%, zinc shed 1.4%, nickel lost 0.6%, lead slipped 0.6%, and tin eased 0.4%.

* TRADE: U.S. President Donald Trump said his tariffs on Chinese goods are causing companies to move production out of China to Vietnam and other countries in Asia, and added that any agreement with China cannot be a "50-50" deal.

* SCRAPS: Starting on July 1, China will restrict high-grade Category 6 copper scrap, as well as aluminium and steel scrap, an extension of an earlier ban that started this year on Category 7 scrap, which has less metal content.

* TARIFFS: The United States struck deals on Friday to lift tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada and Mexico, the three governments said, removing a major obstacle to legislative approval of a new North American trade pact.

* ZAMBIA: Zambia, Africa's second-biggest copper producer, is introducing a new non-refundable sales tax in place of value added tax, despite criticism from mining companies.

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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 = 6.9057 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; editing by Richard Pullin and Shreejay Sinha)