BEIJING, March 27 (Reuters) - Most base metals gained ground
on Wednesday, with Shanghai zinc touching a more than one-year
high, as investors focused on tight inventories and the
resumption of U.S.-China trade talks.
    The U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to arrive in Beijing later
on Wednesday for talks aimed at resolving a long-running trade
row that has weighed on metals prices.
    With London Metal Exchange zinc stocks falling
to their lowest 28 years, the metal used to galvanise steel
jumped 1.5 percent in London on Tuesday and prices in top zinc
user China are also buoyant.  
    Current zinc ingot inventories are "extremely low" and the
next two-three months will see "intense destocking" as
consumption in China recovers, Jinrui Futures said in a note.
    * SHANGHAI ZINC: The most traded May zinc contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as much as 2.1 percent
to 22,450 yuan ($3,344.46) a tonne, its highest since March 7,
2018, and stood at 22,240 yuan a tonne at the end of the
morning. Three-month zinc in London slipped 0.5 percent
to $2,860 by 0450 GMT.
    * OPEN INTEREST: Market open interest in Shanghai zinc
jumped to 632,310 lots of Tuesday, the highest since July 2017,
pointing to greater bullishness.
    * ZINC SPREADS: The premium of cash LME zinc over the
three-month contract stood at $47 a tonne on Tuesday,
up $10.50 from Monday, indicating tighter near-term supply.
    * STOCKS: At 56,425 tonnes, LME zinc stocks are at their
lowest since 1991, while copper inventories have
fallen for seven straight days to 172,275 tonnes after spiking
in the middle of the month. 
    * OTHER METALS: Nickel, used to make stainless steel, added
1.5 percent in Shanghai to 101,040 yuan a tonne, while
Shanghai copper nudged up 0.3 percent to 48,400 yuan a
tonne. In London, copper also rose 0.3 percent to $6,349
while aluminium added 0.6 percent to $1,899.50.
    * COPPER: Polish miner KGHM and a union
representing workers at its Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile
have agreed to extend contract talks, temporarily warding off
the threat of a strike.   
    * ALUNORTE: Norsk Hydro has agreed with Brazil's
federal prosecutor to have a third-party technical assessment
that, if positive, could lead to it resuming full production at
the half-shut Alunorte alumina refinery.