METALS-Copper slips amid heightened Mideast tensions; low stocks limit drop

    BEIJING, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Copper prices slipped in early
Asian trade on Wednesday, following equity markets lower, as
investors switched into safe-haven assets like gold amid rising
tensions in the Middle East, although low inventories and
tighter supply limited the drop.
    Iran launched a missile attack on U.S.-led forces in Iraq in
the early hours of Wednesday, hours after the funeral of an
Iranian commander whose killing in a U.S. drone strike has
raised fears of a wider war in the region.    
    * COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
 was down 0.1% to $6,140.50 a tonne by 0133 GMT, after
finishing up 0.2% in the previous session. The most-traded March
copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell
0.3% to 48,770 yuan ($7,023.03) a tonne.
    * STOCKS: LME copper stocks MCUSTX-TOTAL of just 140,925
tonnes, the lowest since March, were limiting any price fall.
    * CHILE: Copper output slumped at Chile's state miner
Codelco and BHP's sprawling Escondida mine in November,
according to Chile state copper agency Cochilco, amid a
turbulent month of riots and mass protests that rocked the
mineral-rich South American nation.
    * GOLD: Spot gold climbed 1.9% to $1,603.21 per ounce
by 0056 GMT. Prices hit their highest since March 2013 at
$1,610.90 earlier in the session.
    * COPPER: The copper price is unlikely to rebound in 2020
even if trade tensions between the United States and China
subside, the head of Chile mining trade union Sonami said on
    * OTHER METALS: Aluminium and tin were flat
but the rest of the complex was lower, with nickel
falling as much as 1.2%. 
    * COLUMN: Base metals hope for manufacturing recovery in
2020: Andy Home
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    *  Asian shares and U.S. treasury yields plunged, while gold
and oil shot higher after Iran fired rockets at an Iraqi airbase
that hosts U.S. military forces    
0700   Germany    Industrial Orders MM      Nov
0745   France     Reserve Assets Total      Dec
0830   UK         Halifax House Prices MM   Dec
1000   EU         Consumer Confid. Final    Dec
 BASE METALS PRICES                     0132 GMT
 Three month LME copper                   6141.5
 Most active ShFE copper                   48760
 Three month LME aluminium                1816.5
 Most active ShFE aluminium                14065
 Three month LME zinc                     2343.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                     18365
 Three month LME lead                       1905
 Most active ShFE lead                     14850
 Three month LME nickel                    13865
 Most active ShFE nickel                  108980
 Three month LME tin                           0
 Most active ShFE tin                     135480
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                          
 LME/SHFE COPPER             LMESHFCUc    569.01
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM          LMESHFALc   -371.14
 LME/SHFE ZINC               LMESHFZNc   -267.68
 LME/SHFE LEAD               LMESHFPBc   -518.23
 LME/SHFE NICKEL             LMESHFNIc  -2190.54

($1 = 6.9443 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Michael Perry)