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METALS-Copper edges off two-year low as Washington soothes trade fears

Zandi Shabalala

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

(Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE) LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Copper inched higher on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed fears of a protracted trade war with China, though a lack of progress on resolving the conflict kept prices near their lowest since 2017.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME)

was up 0.3% at $5,700 per tonne by 1113 GMT, still close to Monday's two-year low of $5,640. "There has been nothing concrete and nothing has markedly changed (in the trade war)," said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah. "I would say the propensity of prices is to be lower until the end of this year. I don't think there is going to be a solution any time soon." Markets fear an escalation in the trade war could negatively affect metals demand. China, the world's second largest economy, consumes nearly half of industrial metals.

CURRENCY WARS: Trump's comments on Tuesday come despite a warning from Beijing that labelling it a currency manipulator would have severe consequences for the global financial order. EU ECONOMY: German industrial output fell more than expected in June due to weaker production of intermediate and capital goods, a further sign that Europe's biggest economy contracted in the second quarter as exporters were hurt by trade disputes.

GLENCORE: The global miner said it would place its

Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in Democratic Republic of Congo under care and maintenance from the end of this year due to low prices and higher costs. In 2018, Mutanda produced nearly 200,000 tonnes of copper and 27,300 tonnes of cobalt. COPPER INVENTORIES: Copper stocks in LME-approved warehouses have more than doubled this year to 277,975 tonnes and those in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have risen 40% to 155,971 tonnes. <MCUSTX-TOTAL> LME FINES: The LME fined brokerage ED&F Man Capital Markets Ltd 180,000 pounds ($218,610) for a lack of risk management systems to detect suspicious trading activity, the exchange said on Wednesday. WIDER MARKETS: Equities markets were soothed by Trump downplaying the possibility of a lengthy of a trade war, with U.S. and European shares rising.

PRICES: Aluminium was flat at $1,760.50 a tonne,while LME zinc was down 1.5% at $2,274 after falling to

its lowest since October 2016 at $2,270.50.

Lead was steady at $1,999, tin eased 0.2% to$16,965 and nickel fell 1.3% to $14,750

(Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore and Tom Daly in Beijing; Editing by Jan Harvey)