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METALS-Zinc drops as rising Chinese inventories stoke demand fears

BEIJING, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Zinc prices fell in London and Shanghai in early Asian trade on Tuesday, as a rise in Chinese inventories stoked demand concerns and led investors to take up short positions on the metal used to galvanise steel. Social, or non-exchange, zinc stocks in China rose by more than 5,000 tonnes as of Dec. 23, Chinese brokerage Jinrui Futures said in a note, relieving some of the pressure on supply from low exchange inventories.

FUNDAMENTALS

* ZINC: Three-month zinc on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.2% to $2,285.50 as of 0233 GMT, after ending down 2.1% in the previous session. The most traded February zinc contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped 1.5% to 17,850 yuan ($2,545.20) a tonne.

* TCs: Treatment charges for zinc concentrate in China AM-TC50-ZNCON> have hit as high as $310 a tonne this month, the highest since June 2008 amid plentiful ore supply, incentivising smelters to keep producing metal.

* COPPER: LME copper edged down 0.2% to $6,177.50 a tonne in quiet pre-holiday trade, while Shanghai copper inched up 0.1% to 49,080 yuan a tonne.

* SCRAP: China's environment ministry has issued import quotas for 270,885 tonnes of high-grade copper scrap and 275,465 tonnes of aluminium scrap, the first batch for use in 2020. China's scrap metal imports in November rose by 6.3% from the previous month to 170,000 tonnes. 1/8

* RARE EARTHS: Rare earths miner UCore Rare Metals Inc and manufacturer Materion Corp said on Monday they will form a consortium to jointly apply for U.S. military funding of a rare earths processing plant.

* HOLIDAY: The London Metal Exchange will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas holiday.

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MARKETS NEWS

* The dollar traded little changed while equity markets added to a year-end rally, with both a gauge of stock performance worldwide and Wall Street hitting new highs amid renewed optimism over U.S.-China trade and growth prospects.

DATA/EVENTS AHEAD (GMT) 1330 U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issues nonmanufacturing business outlook survey for December

PRICES

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

3

3

3

3

3 ($1 = 7.0132 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Rashmi Aich)