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METALS-LME copper edges lower; set for third weekly rise on Chile supply glitch

Mai Nguyen

glitch@ (Recasts, adds quotes, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Reuters) - London copper prices inched lower on Friday but they were set for a third straight weekly gain, as investors were worried about supply disruption in top producer Chile.

The benchmark three-month copper contract on the London Metal Exchange (LME) has risen 1.1% so far this week, having hit its highest in more than five weeks in the previous session.

The most traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) is also on track for its first weekly rise in three, up 1.2% at the Asia's mid-day break.

Copper prices have been supported by supply shortage fears due to production disruptions at several copper operations in Chile, the world's biggest producer of the metal, due to nationwide protests.

However, LME copper prices edged down slightly on Friday, easing 0.2% to $5,869 a tonne by 0445 GMT, while ShFE copper dipped 0.1% to 47,270 yuan ($6,683.92) a tonne.

A physical trader said Friday's fall was "purely technical," adding that the mid-term view is still bullish, while an industry source said "copper is currently traded as a macro."

Copper is often used a gauge of global economic health, which has been hit by an unresolved and prolonged trade war between China and the United States, the world's two biggest economies.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER SURPLUS: The copper market should see a surplus of 281,000 tonnes in 2020, swinging from this year's deficit of 320,000 tonnes, the International Copper Study Group said this week.

* PHILIPPINE COPPER: The Philippine mining regulator has recommended lifting a three-year suspension of the environmental permit for the Tampakan copper-gold project, potentially one of the world's largest copper mines.

* ZINC: The premium of LME cash zinc over the three-month contract <MZN0-3> touched its highest in nearly a month at $41.25 a tonne, indicating tight nearby supplies, while LME on-warrant zinc stocks were at their record low of 35,125 tonnes. <MZNSTX-TOTAL>

* ZINC DEFICIT: The global zinc market saw a 106,000-tonne shortfall over January-July, the latest data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group showed.

* NICKEL: China's nickel ore imports in September rose 24.6% from the previous month to their highest since at least 2016 at 7.13 million tonnes, as stockpiling accelerated ahead of a ban on shipments from top miner Indonesia from January 2020.

* INDONESIA NICKEL: Indonesia's mining ministry has recommended an increase of about 330,000 tonnes in the nickel ore export quota of miner PT Aneka Tambang.

* PRICES: LME aluminium fell 0.1%, nickel dropped 0.6%, zinc lost 0.1% and lead declined 0.2%. ShFE aluminium eased 0.1%, nickel rose 1%, zinc fell 0.7% while lead edged up 0.1%.

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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 = 7.0722 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Rashmi Aich)