METALS-LME copper slips on stronger dollar, on course for weekly drop

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    BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Friday
as the dollar strengthened ahead of next week's Federal Open
Market Committee meeting, at which the U.S. central bank is
expected to raise interest rates for the first time this year.  
    A stronger greenback makes metals more expensive for holders
of other currencies and can weigh on prices. 
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal
Exchange was down 0.1 percent at $6,914 a tonne by 0210
GMT, extending a 1 percent loss in the previous session. It is
on course for a 0.7 percent weekly drop.
    * SHFE COPPER: The most-traded May copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 0.8 percent to
51,960 yuan ($8,206) a tonne but on track for a weekly gain of
0.8 percent.
    * NICKEL: Shanghai nickel was the biggest loser in
early trade, slipping 1 percent to 103,060 yuan a tonne but
still up 2.2 percent for the week.
    * COPPER: The Democratic Republic of Congo is considering
adding copper to its list of strategic minerals in a move that
would extract higher fees from mining companies, an adviser to
the prime minister said on Thursday.
    * ALUMINIUM: The U.S. International Trade Commission said on
Thursday it had made a final finding that imports of aluminium
foil from China hurt U.S. producers, a move that locks in place
hefty duties of up to 188 percent on Chinese exporters.

    * ALUMINA: Norsk Hydro Asa sees securing
alternative sources of alumina to replace reduced supplies at
its Brazilian plant as a priority, Chief Executive Svein Richard
Brandtzaeg told Reuters.        
     * TARIFFS: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and European
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have agreed to meet next
week in an attempt to resolve a deepening dispute over trade
tariffs, a European Commission source said on Thursday.

    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
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    MARKETS NEWS    
    * Asian stocks were on the defensive on Friday as worries
over the U.S. investigation into the Trump Organization tested
investor nerves, already frayed by fears U.S. tariffs could hurt
the global economy and trigger a trade war.    
    
        
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    0700  Germany     Wholesale price index Feb
    1000  Euro zone Labour costs Q4
    1230  U.S.    Housing starts Feb
    1230  U.S.      Building permits Feb
    1315  U.S.       Industrial production Feb
    1400  U.S.      University of Michigan sentiment index Mar
            
    PRICES
 BASE METALS PRICES                        0200 GMT
 Three month LME copper                        6905
 Most active ShFE copper                      51840
 Three month LME aluminium                     2088
 Most active ShFE aluminium                   13970
 Three month LME zinc                          3227
 Most active ShFE zinc                        24875
 Three month LME lead                          2401
 Most active ShFE lead                        18505
 Three month LME nickel                       13585
 Most active ShFE nickel                     102770
 Three month LME tin                          20915
 Most active ShFE tin                        144370
                                                   
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                             
 LME/SHFE COPPER               LMESHFCUc3    996.38
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM            LMESHFALc3     -1366
                                           
 LME/SHFE ZINC                 LMESHFZNc3    677.09
 LME/SHFE LEAD                 LMESHFPBc3     18.73
 LME/SHFE NICKEL               LMESHFNIc3   1716.57
                                           
    


($1 = 6.3320 Chinese yuan renminbi)

    
 (Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin)

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