(Adds detail, comments, updates prices)
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, March 31 (Reuters) - London copper slipped on Friday but was set to finish a second quarter higher lifted by kinks in mine supply, while a ramp-up in China's factory activity and fresh investor buys are expected to drive prices higher in the April quarter.
Activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 5 years in March, adding to evidence that the world's second-largest economy has gained momentum early this year, an official survey showed on Friday.
"Long-term core numbers like these, especially in China, will underpin the global economy, and in turn could start to trigger the much-talked-about infrastructure projects, and thus, physical metals buying," Kingdom Futures said in a report.
LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was down 1.1 percent at $5891 a tonne, as of 0417 GMT, as immediate supply threats eased. But prices were on track for a 6.5-percent gain for the first quarter following a 14-percent rise in the fourth quarter of last year.
SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper edged up by 0.3 percent to 47640 yuan ($6,905) a tonne.
FREEPORT INDONESIA: Freeport McMoRan Inc's Indonesian unit is close to reaching a deal that would allow the world's biggest publicly listed copper producer to temporarily resume concentrate exports, Indonesia's mining minister said on Thursday.
WAGE TALKS: The failure of BHP Billiton and workers at its Escondida mine to agree on a wage deal after a long and bitter strike has stoked some concerns over the possible fate of other key contract talks at copper mines in Chile over the next year.
FREEPORT PERU: Workers at Peru's biggest copper mine, Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Cerro Verde, will resume work on Friday after voting to end a nearly three-week strike that had halved output, the union said on Thursday.
NICKEL: LME nickel was on track to fall more than 8 percent for the month, snuffing out year-to-date gains, and the biggest fall since an 11 pct drop in December, on prospects of rising Indonesian supply.
INDONESIA: Indonesia's state-owned miner Aneka Tambang (Antam) has been granted an initial approval to export up to 2.7 million tonnes of nickel ore over the next 12 months, a mining ministry official said on Wednesday.
MARKETS: The dollar extended its overnight gains in early Asian trade on Friday on signs of strong U.S. economic growth, while the euro inched up after sliding overnight on data suggesting slowing growth in Europe.
POLITICS: China called on the United States to play its part in resolving trade frictions between the two countries, and said Beijing isn't devaluing its currency to boost exports as tensions simmered ahead of President Xi Jinping's first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
COMING UP: Euro zone Inflation flash Mar AT 0900 GMT
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
($1 = 6.8995 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips