July 26, 2018 / 10:58 AM / 21 days ago

METALS-Metals steady amid EU, U.S. trade deal hopes

* LME/ShFE arb: bit.ly/2wZSAEz

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Adds closing prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - Base metals steadied on Thursday after the European Union and the United States agreed to negotiate on trade, easing fears of a trade war, though worries over growth in top consumer China kept gains in check.

In what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called a "major concession", U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Wednesday to refrain from imposing car tariffs while the two sides launch negotiations to cut other trade barriers.

Trump and Juncker also agreed to seek to resolve U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium and Europe's retaliatory duties.

However, concerns lingered that Washington's trade tensions with China could yet escalate further. The Chinese yuan fell again on Thursday, and is down more than 6 percent against the dollar since mid June amid the trade tensions.

"The depreciation of the yuan is an ongoing headwind (for metals) but I actually think China is doing OK. There's a decent fiscal impulse coming through and underlying fundamentals are OK," said Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.

"You'll see seasonal recovery if nothing else as we head into late August. We're unlikely to hit levels seen earlier this year but copper can be expected back at $6,600 a tonne," he added.

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended flat at $6,291 a tonne. The red metal is down about 13 percent so far this year, hurt by the trade tensions and a stronger dollar.

* DOLLAR: The dollar rose versus the euro as the European Central Bank clung signalled no change in its timetable to move away from its ultra low rate policy. A strong dollar makes dollar-priced metals costlier for non-U.S. investors.

* ALUMINIUM TECHNICALS: "The (aluminium) curve has switched back into contango. Accordingly, financial transactions have picked up again, which is reflected in a sharp rise in cancelled LME warrants. Supply is artificially tightening again, in other words," said Commerzbank in a note. CMAL0-3

* ALUMINIUM PRICES: Aluminium ended up 0.3 percent at $2,068 a tonne.

* FREEPORT: Freeport-McMoRan said a revised development plan at Grasberg in Indonesia would reduce copper and gold production during a transition to underground mining in 2019 and 2020.

* ANGLO: Anglo American is going ahead with developing its $5 billion Quellaveco assets in Peru, one of the world's largest untapped copper projects.

* STEEL PRICES: China's construction steel rebar prices extended a three-day winning streak although investors' worries about demand returned.

* STEEL PRODUCTION: Global crude steel production rose 5.8 percent in June from a year ago, while output from top producer and consumer China rose 7.5 percent.

* OTHER METALS: Steelmaking ingredient zinc closed flat at $2,585, lead ended up 0.6 percent at $2,164, tin closed up 0.5 percent at $19,850 and nickel closed up 0.7 percent at $13,775.

Additional reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Adrian Croft, Jon Boyle and Jan Harvey

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