BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) - Nickel led a rise in Shanghai base metals prices on Monday following a drop in London Metal Exchange (LME) inventories on Friday. The metal, used to make stainless steel and rechargeable batteries, is up by 7.3 percent in 2018. A rally in Asian equities helped take the rest of the Shanghai complex higher, except aluminium which is hovering above a 14-month low, while most LME metals edged downwards after healthy gains towards the end of last week. "Concerns over the impact of a trade war instigated by the U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel continue to weigh on the sector," ANZ wrote in a note. FUNDAMENTALS: * SHFE NICKEL: The most traded July nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) was up 3.6 percent at 104,500 yuan ($16,507.38) a tonne by the mid-session interval, on course for its biggest daily jump since Nov. 2. It opened up 4.3 percent as it tracked Friday's surge in the LME price. * LME NICKEL: London nickel was trading down 1.1 percent by 0412 GMT, having leapt 4.5 percent on Friday after LME data showed a 13 percent slide in on-warrant stocks. * COPPER: Three-month copper on the LME was down 0.2 percent to $6,947 a tonne, having closed up 1.9 percent in the previous session. The most-traded May ShFE copper contract gained 1.2 percent to 52,160 yuan a tonne. * COPPER: Workers in the largest union at Antofagasta PLC's Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile rejected an offer for a new labour contract, paving the way for a strike, a union source told Reuters on Friday. * ALUMINIUM: Shanghai aluminium was down 0.7 percent at 14,105 yuan a tonne, after touching a one-year low on Friday, with winter restrictions on Chinese smelters set to be lifted in three days' time. * TARIFFS: The United States opened the way for more exemptions from its steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, after pressure from allies and intense lobbying from lawmakers,further diluting the measures just a day after they were formally announced. * LITHIUM: Chile's government has asked antitrust regulators to block the sale of a stake in lithium company SQM to a Chinese company on the grounds it would give China an unfair advantage in the global race to secure resources to develop electric vehicles, according to a document seen by Reuters.