Oil and Gas

METALS-Copper eyes second quarterly gain as supplies shrink

 (Adds detail, 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 five 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 $5893 a tonne, as
of 0705 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 0.6 percent to 47750 yuan
($6,931) 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: Asian shares fell on Friday as investors balanced positions on the last day of the
    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
    COMING UP: Euro zone Inflation flash Mar AT 0900 GMT
 BASE METALS PRICES                  0710 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 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                                          
 LME/SHFE COPPER                  LMESHFCUc3               428.8
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM               LMESHFALc3            -1792.52
 LME/SHFE ZINC                    LMESHFZNc3              295.98
 LME/SHFE LEAD                    LMESHFPBc3            -1759.43
 LME/SHFE NICKEL                  LMESHFNIc3                1536

($1 = 6.8898 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)