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METALS-Shanghai copper drops to 2-year low on demand worries

Mai Nguyen

(Updates prices)

SINGAPORE, June 3 (Reuters) - Copper prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) dropped to their lowest in two years on Monday, as fears on weaker demand for the metal rose amid weak Chinese factory data and a U.S. threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods.

The most-traded copper contract on ShFE in early trade dropped as much as 0.6% to 46,060 yuan ($6,669.56) a tonne, its lowest since June 2017. The contract ended down 0.5%.

"I don't think the downward move has come to an end yet. So, I'm still bearish until there is a real turnaround where macro sentiment improves or shows signs of improvement," said a metals trader based in Singapore.

An official survey showed factory activity in top metals consumer China slumping in May to a deeper contraction than expected, while U.S. President Donald Trump's threatening tariffs on all goods from Mexico raised global recession fears.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHINA: A private Caixin/Markit survey showed factory activity expanding modestly in May at 50.2, but analysts say front-loading of exports by firms to the United States to avoid higher tariffs masked underlying weakness in the economy.

* EL TENIENTE: Chile's state-owned miner Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, said on Sunday it had partially halted work at its biggest copper mine El Teniente following a fatal accident.

* LME COPPER: Benchmark London three-month copper eased 0.1% after it fell at the sharpest monthly rate since November 2015 last month.

* AUSTRALIA/USA: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said aluminium exporters are complying with the terms of a deal with the United States after the New York Times reported Trump had considered imposing tariffs on Canberra.

* VEDANTA/ZAMBIA: Zambia's Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is not producing copper, parent firm Vedanta Resources's chief executive said, as Vedanta was seeking international arbitration over Zambia's appointment of a provisional liquidator for KCM.

* TCs/RCs: Spot prices for refining copper concentrate have fallen to their lowest in 6-1/2 years and look set to stay under pressure as China cements itself as a dominant producer of processed metal.

* ZIMBABWE POWER: Zimbabwe mining companies can pay for electricity in foreign currency to guarantee supplies, the energy minister said on Friday, as the country might face deeper power cuts because of low dam water levels.

* PRICES: London aluminium eased 0.1%, nickel fell 0.6%, zinc lost 1.3% and lead edged down 0.2%. In Shanghai, nickel ended 1.5% lower, zinc decreased 1.2% and lead eased 0.6%.

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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 = 6.9060 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Uttaresh.V)