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METALS-Copper flat as investors await Trump-Xi meeting

Mai Nguyen

(Adds details, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, June 27 (Reuters) - Copper traded almost unchanged on Thursday as investors exercised caution ahead of a scheduled weekend meeting between U.S. and Chinese presidents on their prolonged trade war.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping was possible this weekend, but he stressed possible U.S. tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports if disagreement continues.

The two countries have agreed to a tentative truce in their trade dispute ahead of a meeting between their leaders at the G20 summit this weekend, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, citing sources.

"Investors are fairly cautious leading into the weekend. With the comments overnight, particularly on the U.S. side, creating a bit of uncertainty around the meeting, investors are reluctant to really do too much," said Daniel Hynes, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ.

"If there's any sign talks are back on (after the weekend), the base metals sector would be relatively buoyed. The downside is pretty well priced in for a while now so any encouraging sign ... of talks should be viewed as positive," Hynes said.

Copper is widely used in construction and manufacturing and is seen by investors as a gauge of economic health. A stand-off between the United States and China, the world's top two economies, has been hurting copper prices.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was almost flat at $5,990.50 a tonne by 0730 GMT, hovering around a five-week high.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHUQUICAMATA: Unions at Chile's Chuquicamata mine have asked Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, to resubmit the offer their workers voted down last weekend, a union leader said.

* NICKEL: Benchmark nickel rose as much as 1.1% to $12,625 a tonne, its highest since April 23, while Shanghai nickel also rallied, ending 1.1% higher at 101,090 yuan ($14,701.22) a tonne, its highest close since April 11.

* SCRAP: The port of Sanshan in southern China's Guangdong province stopped accepting scrap metal shipments on Thursday after an excessive build-up of stockpiles caused by importers racing to bring in cargoes ahead of a ban next week.

* RARE EARTH: Australia's Lynas Corp said it signed a 10-year loan extension on easier terms with its long-time Japanese backers, increasing its commitment to supply rare earths to Japanese customers.

* CHINA: Bolstered by improving sales and better margins, profits for China's industrial companies rose in May, bucking a months-long downtrend, but analysts are unsure if the gains can last.

* PRICES: Benchmark aluminum fell 0.2% and zinc eased 0.7%. In Shanghai, copper fell 0.5% to 47,090 yuan a tonne, zinc decreased 0.7% and lead dropped 1.1%.

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PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

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 = 6.8763 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Gopakumar Warrier)