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METALS--Copper dips ahead of U.S. data, Lunar New Year holiday
February 5, 2016 / 1:25 PM / in 2 years

METALS--Copper dips ahead of U.S. data, Lunar New Year holiday

* ShFE copper stocks surge 13.8 pct, zinc stocks up 6.6 pct

* Market eyes U.S. jobs report for dollar direction (Updates with official prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Copper slipped on Friday as investors squared positions ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in China, and as they awaited key U.S. jobs data later in the day.

However, copper was set for a third straight week of gains as industrial metals got a shot in the arm from a tumble in the dollar to three-month lows.

A weaker dollar makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency more competitive for buyers outside of the United States. The U.S. non-farm payrolls report due at 1330 GMT will be keenly eyed for its impact on the dollar.

“We’re waiting for the data for implications for the U.S. dollar and equity markets,” Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank, said.

“I wouldn’t read too much into today’s moves, especially in light of the strong gains in recent weeks, particularly for zinc. It’s not surprising to see them slightly under pressure.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had slipped 0.4 percent to $4,667 a tonne in official trading, paring 1.1 percent gains in the previous session when prices hit the highest since Jan. 4 at $4,720 a tonne.

Copper was set to climb more than 2 percent for the week, coming within 1 percent of parity with the start of the year after an 8 percent slide to six-year lows in mid-January.

“In the past few days, dollar weakness has certainly supported the copper price,” said analyst Helen Lau at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

“But looking at the longer term time horizon, there has been some improvement on the supply side, so overall we should not be too bearish.”

Given price-related cutbacks and shutdowns announced in the past six months, consultancy CRU anticipates a loss of 610,000 tonnes of contained copper from mine production this year.

Also weighing on prices ahead of the holiday was a surge in weekly inventories of copper, zinc and lead in ShFE warehouses.

Copper stocks jumped 29,317 tonnes, or 13.8 percent, zinc stocks rose 6.6 percent, while lead stocks more than doubled, reversing the fall from the prior week.

LME zinc, the best performer on the exchange so far this year, shed 0.1 percent in official rings to $1,713 a tonne, but was set for a 5 percent gain for the week.

Aluminium dipped 0.1 percent to $1,533 in official trading, lead fell 0.6 percent to $1,792, nickel lost 0.4 percent to $8,500 and tin bucked the weaker trend and added 0.7 percent to reach $15,100.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

$1 = 6.5638 Chinese yuan renminbi Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; editing by Jan Harvey and David Clarke

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