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METALS-Copper falls on global recession worries ahead of U.S. data

Eric Onstad

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Adds analyst comment, updates prices, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Copper prices drifted lower on Friday on concerns about weak global growth ahead of U.S. jobs data, but tight supply cushioned the fall.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.5% at $5,634 a tonne by 1030 GMT, the fifth session of declines, and falling 2.3% so far this week.

Earlier this week data showed U.S. manufacturing activity plunged to a more than 10-year low in September, but non-farm payrolls are expected to pick up in data released at 1230 GMT.

"I think it is fair to say we are in a manufacturing recession globally, which is not really surprising if you look at the car market... something that is holding back metals demand," said analyst Carsten Menke at Julius Baer in Zurich.

"It's all about demand at the moment, because if you look at the supply side for copper, we have some severe issues there, and aluminium supply is falling globally, which hasn't happened in about 10 years."

Copper is consumed widely in the power and construction sectors and often used to gauge global economic health. China, whose economy has been hurt by the prolonged trade war with the United States, accounts for around half of global copper demand.

* NICKEL: Nickel prices rose 0.9% to $17,775 a tonne and were set for their first weekly gain in three, as headline inventories in LME-approved warehouses <MNISTX-TOTAL> dropped to 133,128 tonnes, their lowest since November 2012.

"Nickel prices continue to perform well among base metals on a year-to-date basis as supply fears remain firmly in place for that market," Fitch Solutions said.

* ALUMINIUM SPREAD: The discount of cash LME aluminium to the three-month contract <CMAL0-3> has fallen to $13.75 a tonne, the lowest since May, indicating less availability of near-term supply in the LME system.

* ANTOFAGASTA: Chile's Antofagasta, a major copper miner, negotiated on Thursday with workers hoping to stave off a strike at its small Antucoya deposit in Chile, though union leaders said there had been little progress in discussions.

* PAN PACIFIC: Pan Pacific Copper, Japan's biggest copper smelter, said on Friday it plans to produce 302,000 tonnes of refined copper between October and March, up 1.9% from a year earlier.

* PRICES: LME aluminium edged up 0.1% to $1,719.50 a tonne, zinc gained 0.9% to $2,314.50, lead climbed 0.8% to $2,145 and tin dipped 0.2% to $16,435. Volumes were moderate as China is closed for a long holiday until Oct. 7.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore, editing by Louise Heavens)