May 22(Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 47 points lower at 5,968 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers.
* British consumer confidence in early May dipped back down to its joint-lowest level since the global financial crisis in 2009, despite moves by the government to start loosening its coronavirus lockdown, a survey showed on Friday. Britain's nearly 5,000 new-car showrooms should be allowed to reopen urgently, an automotive industry body said on Friday, lobbying the government ahead of the next stage in plans to lift some coronavirus lockdown measures. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has instructed civil servants to make plans to end UK's reliance on China for vital medical supplies and other strategic imports in light of the coronavirus outbreak, The Times newspaper reported on Friday. Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday he was confident that a COVID-19 track and trace system would be operating by June 1, allowing lockdown rules to be eased without risking a spike in infections. Britain said on Thursday it had agreed to acquire over 10 million coronavirus antibody tests from Roche ROG.S and Abbott ABT.N which would be rolled out to health and care workers from next week. METALS: Copper prices fell on Friday as mounting Sino-U.S. tensions and concerns about a rebound from the coronavirus-led economic slump curbed risk appetite and demand for metals. GOLD: Gold steadied on Friday as an escalation in U.S.-China tensions underpinned bullion's safe-haven appeal, although positive economic data and easing lockdowns in some countries set up the precious metal for a weekly drop. OIL: Oil prices slumped on Friday after China's decision to omit an economic growth target for 2020 renewed concerns that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will continue to depress fuel demand in the world's second-largest oil user. The UK blue-chip index .FTSE ended lower on Thursday as optimism faded about any speedy recovery from the coronavirus-induced economic slump, while U.S.-China trade tensions returned firmly to the forefront of investors' minds.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
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