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METALS-London copper edges up ahead of Fed rate decision

Mai Nguyen

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 (Reuters) - London copper prices ticked up on Wednesday, while other industrial metals traded in tight ranges, as investors awaited clues on the U.S. Federal Reserve's future monetary policy.

The Fed is widely expected to announce a rate cut when it concludes its two-day policy meeting later on Wednesday, with markets focusing on the statement and economic projections from policy makers.

"A rate cut would definitely push up prices (but only) in a very short term, and then prices will come down because a rate cut was expected," said CRU's copper analyst He Tianyu, adding that demand for copper remained weak.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.2% at $5,834 a tonne, as of 0345 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) eased 0.1% to 47,340 yuan ($6,680.97) a tonne.

LME aluminum dipped 0.1%, nickel rose 0.6%, zinc was little changed, and lead rose 0.4%. ShFE aluminum edged up 0.1%, nickel declined 0.3%, zinc eased 0.1% and tin fell 0.3%.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LEAD: ShFE lead fell as much as 1.9% to a one-month low on rising supply outlook after Belgium's Nyrstar said it had temporarily reopened an old lead-processing plant in Australia.

* TRADE DEAL: U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration could seal a deal on trade with China before the U.S. presidential election, or an agreement could be reached the day after U.S. voters go to the polls.

* CHILE LITHIUM: Chile is making a renewed push for battery technology investment in return for access to its lithium deposits, piquing interest from China, Japan and Europe as global firms look to secure supply for electric vehicles.

* LITHIUM: Strong demand from the electric vehicle sector alongside supply cuts should help Australian lithium miners recover towards the middle of next year, earlier than expected, a Benchmark Minerals Intelligence top executive said.

* U.S. EV: The United States is losing the race to extract and refine minerals used to make electric vehicles and should do more to spur domestic production, a bipartisan group of senators said.

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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 = 7.0858 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Aditya Soni)