MELBOURNE/BEIJING, March 9 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper on Friday touched its lowest since September as the dollar edged upwards and investors focused on escalating tensions over U.S. metal imports. A stronger greenback makes metals more expensive for holders of other currencies, weighing on prices. U.S. President Donald Trump's 25 percent import tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminium, with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico, will begin within 15 days, a senior administration official said on Thursday. Nomura, however, played down the impact on exports from top steel and aluminium maker China, noting that the "U.S. share of China's total steel and aluminium exports was only (around) 16 percent". FUNDAMENTALS: * SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper fell by 2 percent to 51,110 yuan ($8,058.97) a tonne, its lowest since Sept. 18, before recovering slightly to 51,330 yuan a tonne by the mid-session interval. * LONDON COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was down 0.5 percent at $6,797.50 a tonne by 0355 GMT, having earlier touched its lowest since Feb. 9. * ZINC: Zinc, used to galvanise steel, was hit hardest, falling by 2.9 percent to 24,525 yuan a tonne in Shanghai , its lowest since Dec. 8, before cutting its losses to 2.5 percent. * STEEL: The most traded steel rebar contract in Shanghai slumped by 3.9 percent to 3,703 yuan a tonne, hitting a 3-1/2 month low after Trump's tariff decision. Nickel, used to make stainless steel, fell 1.5 percent in Shanghai. * CHINA REACTION: China's steel and metals associations called on Friday for Beijing to retaliate against the U.S. tariffs, as a widely read tabloid said the country will not be bullied by threats of a trade war with the world's top economy. * ASIA REACTION: Japan said the tariffs would have a "big impact" on the countries' close bilateral ties, while South Korea said it may file a complaint to the World Trade Organization. * IMF: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Thursday that she feared a "tit-for-tat" escalation of trade retaliation over the U.S. tariffs that would sap business confidence and investment.