MELBOURNE, March 19 (Reuters) - London metal prices slipped
on Monday on simmering unease that tensions between the world's
top two economies could dent demand, while markets turned to
this week's Federal Reserve meeting in expectation it could push
up the dollar. 
    Further losses could be seen in base metals near term before
spreads start to tighten towards the month- and quarter-end,
bolstering prices, Kingdom Futures said in a report. 
    "It might well be that we see prices drop as the more
speculative longs exit positions and indeed any further sudden
falls in global equity markets could trigger a sharp selloff in
metals," it said. 
    "That said, as prices fall and sellers get shorter (while)
LME stocks ... continue to fall or be cancelled this could well
lead to explosive tightness of spreads as we approach the end of
Q2 and indeed into Q3."
    * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had slipped
0.9 percent to $6,828 a tonne by 0203 GMT, extending losses from
Friday when prices fell half-a-percent.
    Prices earlier dropped to $6,811, which was the weakest
since March 9 when copper touched $6,777, a break of which would
open the way to mid-February lows. Support is seen at the
200-day moving average of $6,657.
    * SHFE: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper fell 1.2
percent to 51,310 yuan ($8,100) a tonne, the steepest decline
among Shanghai metals.    
    * LME COPPER STOCKS: LME copper stocks peaked around 338,000
tonnes in mid-Febraury but have since tailed back to 321,000
    * SHFE ALUMINIUM: In China, metals inventories have built
despite pollution controls that curbed factory output. Shanghai
aluminium stocks surged by 87,303 tonnes to a record-high of
934,216 tonnes, data on Friday showed. <AL-STX-SGH > 
    * RISK APPETITE: Worries about the potential for a
U.S.-China trade war and frustration over U.S. President Donald
Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs threatened to dominate a
gathering of finance leaders amid strengthening growth.

     * CHINA DEMAND: China's new home price growth slowed in
February from the previous month as a raft of government curbs
aimed at tempering speculative demand softened prices in the
biggest cities, although strength seen in smaller centres
remained intact.
    * DOLLAR: The dollar started the week little changed on
Monday as traders set sights on new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome
Powell's first monetary policy meeting later in the week and as
the increased threat of trade protectionism kept markets on
    * POLLUTION: China will set more stringent targets for
improving the nation's air quality under a new three-year plan,
as Beijing prepares to beef up a nationwide crackdown on
polluters in its years-long campaign to clear its notoriously
toxic skies.
    * INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers trimmed their
net long positions in COMEX copper contracts in the week to
March 13, regulatory data showed on Friday.