BEIJING, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Shanghai base metals rose across
the board in early trade on Monday, buoyed by optimism over the
outlook for demand after China's banks made the most new loans
on record in January.
    Copper hit a near two-month high in Shanghai despite a big
boost in Chinese inventories of the metal over the past two
    * SHFE COPPER: The most-traded April copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.6 percent at 48,650
yuan ($7,201.22) a tonne at 0144 GMT, having earlier touched its
highest since Dec. 19 at 48,820 yuan.
    * LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal
Exchange was trading higher for a fourth straight
session. It edged up 0.1 percent to $6,196 a tonne, after a
0.8-percent gain on Friday. 
    * CHINA LOANS: Chinese banks extended a record 3.23 trillion
yuan ($476.87 billion) in net new yuan loans in January, sharply
more than expected, as policymakers try to prevent a sharper
economic slowdown in the world's top metals consumer.

    * TRADE: Chinese state media on Saturday expressed cautious
optimism over trade talks between the United States and China, a
day after President Xi Jinping said a week of discussions had
produced "step-by-step" progress.
    * SHFE STOCKS: Copper inventories CU-STX-SGH in warehouses
monitored by the ShFE rose 45.1 percent, or 64,491 tonnes, from
two weeks earlier to 207,118 tonnes on Feb. 15, the bourse said
on Friday. Zinc stocks ZN-STX-SHJ were up 84.2 percent at
86,447 tonnes.
    * OTHER METALS: Shanghai zinc was the biggest
gainer, rising as much as 2.3 percent to 21,830 yuan a tonne
before paring gains to 1.3 percent. London zinc slipped
0.4 percent as most LME metals trimmed Friday's gains.
    * VALE: Brazilian police arrested eight employees of mining
firm Vale SA on Friday, accused by state prosecutors
of covering up weaknesses at a dam that collapsed and likely
killed more than 300 people.
    * TARIFFS: Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said
on Saturday she had made clear in a meeting with U.S. House of
Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Munich Security
Conference the importance of the U.S. lifting tariffs on steel
and aluminium imports from Canada.