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METALS-Copper prices set for worst quarter in over three years

Mai Nguyen

(Recasts, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, June 28 (Reuters) - Copper prices marked time on Friday but were on track for their weakest quarterly performance since the end of 2015, weighed down by demand fears from the U.S.-China trade war.

Benchmark three-month copper prices were almost unchanged at $5,991 a tonne as of 0405 GMT. Prices have fallen 7.6% so far in the second quarter, on track for their biggest drop since the quarter ended December 2015.

The poor performance follows a big fall in May when U.S.-China trade tension deepened and copper prices posted their steepest monthly decline in three-and-a-half years.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) edged down 0.2% on Friday to 47,030 yuan ($6,842.72) a tonne.

Investors are waiting for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled on Saturday in Japan, hoping for news about any resolution to a prolonged trade war.

Copper is widely used in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and its prices are often considered as an indicator of the health of the global economy.

FUNDAMENTALS

* GLENCORE: At least 41 artisanal miners were killed when part of a copper and cobalt mine owned by Glencore in Congo collapsed. Glencore said the workers were on the site illegally and the incident had not affected its production.

* CHUQUICAMATA: A two-week strike that docked output at Chile's Chuquicamata copper mine has ended after three main labour unions voted to accept the latest contract offer from Codelco, the world's largest copper producer.

* PRICES: London aluminium rose 0.6%, lead eased 0.1% and tin was almost unchanged. In Shanghai, nickel rose 0.6%, while most other metals fell, with aluminium slipping 0.8% and zinc dropping 1%.

* ZINC: Zinc prices on both the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the Shanghai Futures Exchange are heading for their worst quarter since the third quarter of 2015.

* NICKEL: LME nickel fell 0.3% but it is on track for its best month since January. The metal used mostly in making stainless steel is the best performer so far this year among the base metals complex, rising 18.5% as of Friday.

* CHINA: China's central bank said on Thursday it will maintain support for the slowing economy as global risks rise, while vowing not to adopt "flood-like" stimulus that analysts say could exacerbate debt and structural risks.

* SCRAP: Chinese copper buyers are hunting for alternative sources of the commodity as ramped-up restrictions on imports of high-grade copper scrap kick in on Monday in the world's top consumer of the metal.

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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 = 6.8730 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Richard Pullin)