METALS-Zinc drops as rising Chinese inventories stoke demand fears

    BEIJING, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Zinc prices fell in London and
Shanghai in early Asian trade on Tuesday, as a rise in Chinese
inventories stoked demand concerns and led investors to take up
short positions on the metal used to galvanise steel.
    Social, or non-exchange, zinc stocks in China rose by more
than 5,000 tonnes as of Dec. 23, Chinese brokerage Jinrui
Futures said in a note, relieving some of the pressure on supply
from low exchange inventories.     
    * ZINC: Three-month zinc on the London Metal Exchange fell
0.2% to $2,285.50 as of 0233 GMT, after ending down 2.1% in the
previous session. The most traded February zinc contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped 1.5% to 17,850 yuan 
($2,545.20) a tonne.
    * TCs: Treatment charges for zinc concentrate in China
AM-TC50-ZNCON have hit as high as $310 a tonne this month, the
highest since June 2008 amid plentiful ore supply, incentivising
smelters to keep producing metal.
    * COPPER: LME copper edged down 0.2% to $6,177.50 a
tonne in quiet pre-holiday trade, while Shanghai copper
inched up 0.1% to 49,080 yuan a tonne. 
    * SCRAP: China's environment ministry has issued import
quotas for 270,885 tonnes of high-grade copper scrap and 275,465
tonnes of aluminium scrap, the first batch for use in 2020.
China's scrap metal imports in November rose by 6.3% from the
previous month to 170,000 tonnes. [ 
    * RARE EARTHS: Rare earths miner UCore Rare Metals Inc
 and manufacturer Materion Corp said on Monday
they will form a consortium to jointly apply for U.S. military
funding of a rare earths processing plant.
    * HOLIDAY: The London Metal Exchange will be closed on
Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas holiday.
    * For the top stories in metals and other news, click       
    * The dollar traded little changed while equity markets
added to a year-end rally, with both a gauge of stock
performance worldwide and Wall Street hitting new highs amid
renewed optimism over U.S.-China trade and growth prospects.
1330 U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issues
nonmanufacturing business outlook survey for December        
 BASE METALS PRICES                      0236 GMT
 Three month LME copper                      6180
 Most active ShFE copper                    49100
 Three month LME aluminium                   1805
 Most active ShFE aluminium                 14180
 Three month LME zinc                        2287
 Most active ShFE zinc                      17865
 Three month LME lead                        1928
 Most active ShFE lead                      14810
 Three month LME nickel                     14270
 Most active ShFE nickel                   112440
 Three month LME tin                        17160
 Most active ShFE tin                      138980
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                           
 LME/SHFE COPPER              LMESHFCUc    275.51
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM           LMESHFALc   -239.92
 LME/SHFE ZINC                LMESHFZNc   -502.96
 LME/SHFE LEAD                LMESHFPBc   -938.27
 LME/SHFE NICKEL              LMESHFNIc  -3164.36
 ($1 = 7.0132 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Rashmi Aich)