Wires

METALS-Copper drifts lower as U.S.-China trade woes cloud outlook for demand

(Adds Shanghai closing prices, updates London prices) BEIJING, Sept 23 (Reuters) - London copper prices fell on Monday, as the latest round of U.S.-China talks failed to yield signs of a breakthrough in the long-running trade row between the world's top two economies. Most industrial metals have lost ground so far in 2019 amid concerns the trade war will hurt demand, particularly in China, the world's top metals consumer. Chinese data for August shows the country's economy is "still sliding across the board," brokerage Jinrui Futures said in a note, adding that growth in real estate investment had fallen for four months in a row. However, the physical copper market was much firmer, with Yangshan premiums <SMM-CUYP-CN> - paid on top of the London price to secure delivery of metal into China - reaching as much as $90 a tonne on Friday, the highest since November. "Refined copper inventories continue to fall," Jinrui Futures said, expecting a tight balance in the fourth quarter. Copper inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) fell 7.1% from the previous week to 131,379 tonnes as of Friday.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.8% to $5,751 a tonne as of 0701 GMT, after ending a four-day losing streak with a 0.2% gain on Friday. The most-traded November copper contract on the ShFE fell as much as 0.6% to 46,850 yuan ($6,589.59) a tonne and closed at 46,870 yuan.

* TRADE: A U.S.-China trade deal appeared elusive on Friday after Chinese officials unexpectedly canceled a visit to farms in Montana and Nebraska, as deputy trade negotiators wrapped up two days of negotiations in Washington, even as both sides said the talks were constructive.

* COPPER: Pan Pacific Copper, Japan's top copper smelter, expects a global shortage of the metal to be less acute next year as China's output increases, a company official said.

* CHINA: China's imports of scrap metal in August dropped 13.8% from the previous month to 250,000 tonnes, the lowest monthly total since March, customs data showed on Monday.

* NICKEL: The stainless steel ingredient was the only metal to rise on the LME, climbing 0.4% to $17,520 a tonne and on track for a fourth straight day of gains. In Shanghai, nickel closed up 1.5% at 138,810 yuan a tonne after hitting a one-week high of 139,960 yuan.

* NICKEL SPREAD: The premium of cash LME nickel over the three-month contract <CMNI0-3> hit a record high of $205 a tonne on Friday, indicating very tight near-term supply ahead of a ban on nickel ore exports from Indonesia in 2020.

MARKETS NEWS

* Most Asian share markets slipped as investors waited for more clarity on the Sino-U.S. trade talks.

PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0706 GMTThree month LME copper 5762Most active ShFE copper 46850Three month LME aluminum 1787.5Most active ShFE aluminum 14210Three month LME zinc 2294.5Most active ShFE zinc 18850Three month LME lead 2113Most active ShFE lead 16895Three month LME nickel 17535Most active ShFE nickel 138790Three month LME tin 16600Most active ShFE tin 137280

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 663.88LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -218.98LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 224.63LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -647.83LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 -4998.87

($1 = 7.1097 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Dale Hudson and Rashmi Aich)