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METALS-LME copper eases on mixed trade signals, tepid China data

Mai Nguyen

(Recasts, adds quotes, and updates prices) SINGAPORE, Nov 8 (Reuters) - London copper prices edged down on Friday as tepid China data raised concerns of weak demand for the malleable metal, while mixed signals from the U.S.-China trade scene sparked worries over the prospects of sealing a deal. Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange

(LME) was down 0.2% at $5,964.50 a tonne, as of 0454

GMT, after hitting its highest in more than three months on Thursday. The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures

Exchange (ShFE) rose 0.4% to 47,470 yuan ($6,803.00) a

tonne, tracking overnight gains in London. Beijing and Washington have agreed to roll back tariffs on each others' goods if a "phase one" trade deal is completed, officials from both sides said on Thursday. However, the excitement soon subsided after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said there was no agreement to remove any of the existing tariffs as a condition of a phase one deal. "While the United States and China have announced that they are on the cusp of signing a 'phase one' trade deal, structural disagreements are likely to persist," said Fitch Solutions in a report. "This will not only undercut scope for a 'phase two' agreement, but also increase the risk of a re-acceleration of trade tensions in the coming quarters," they added. Concerns of a drop in copper demand also weighed on prices, after top consumer China reported weak imports of the red metal. "The market is not good," said CRU analyst He Tianyu, adding that demand for copper from China this year has been increasing but at a slower rate than in 2018, due to weak consumption in the automotive and air conditioning sectors.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHINA IMPORTS: China's copper imports fell 3.1% in October from the previous month, customs data showed, as a cooling manufacturing sector in the country kept demand subdued, while aluminium exports slipped to an eight-month low.

* CODELCO COPPER: Chile's Codelco, the world's top copper producer, boosted output by 7.5% in September to 145,300 tonnes, Chilean copper commission Cochilco said on Thursday, though its total production for the year continued to lag.

* INDONESIA NICKEL: Indonesia has allowed some nickel ore exporters to resume shipments following a temporary halt to investigate reports of violations, a senior official said.

* ALUMINIUM: Shanghai aluminium prices climbed as

high as 14,120 yuan a tonne, a level unseen since Sept. 25, as stocks in the warehouses tracked by ShFE <AL-SGH-STX> were at their lowest since March 2017 at 278,736 tonnes.

* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium eased 0.1%, nickel

rose 0.3% and lead fell 0.2%. ShFE nickeladvanced 0.1%, zinc dipped 0.1% while lead

declined 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 = 6.9778 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)