December 17, 2018 / 2:24 AM / a month ago

METALS-Base metals edge higher on U.S.-China trade optimism

MELBOURNE/BEIJING, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Most base metals rose in early trade on Monday, starting a new week with cautious optimism that China and the United States will be able to resolve a trade row that has weighed on prices for most of this year, although weak economic data capped gains.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged up 0.1 percent to 49,180 yuan ($7,122.38) a tonne as of 0158 GMT. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was flat at $6,132 a tonne.

* TRADE: China will temporarily suspend additional 25 percent tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts starting Jan. 1, 2019, the finance ministry said on Friday, following a truce in a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

* VEDANTA: An Indian environment court set aside on Saturday the Tamil Nadu state government's order to close Vedanta's copper smelter plant permanently, taking the company closer to reopening its facility in southern India.

* IMPERIAL: Canadian copper producer Imperial Metals has hired Bank of Montreal (BMO) to speed up a restructuring process that could include the sale of the company for up to $1 billion, two sources familiar with the matter said.

* INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers switched to a net short position in Comex copper in the week to Dec. 11, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

* OTHER METALS: Shanghai nickel, the top performer, rose 1.5 percent, tracking a more than 2 percent jump in LME nickel on Friday.

* USD: The dollar held near a 19-month high on Monday, bolstered by safe-haven buying as heightened concerns of a global economic slowdown reduced appetite for riskier assets such as stocks and Asian currencies.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian share markets started the week on a cautious footing on Monday after weak economic data from China and Europe added to evidence of cooling global growth and reinforced anxiety over the impact of international trade frictions on business and profits.

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 = 6.9050 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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