October 12, 2018 / 6:18 AM / 5 days ago

METALS-London copper prices rise in wake of solid China imports

(Recasts, adds analyst comment)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Oct 12 (Reuters) - London copper rose on Friday as data showed China imported near record volumes of the metal last month, with prices on track for their first weekly rise in three as turmoil on Wall Street weighed on the dollar.

China's copper imports grew in September as the world's top buyer of the commodity brought in more ores and metal to replace scrap after it tightened waste related imports this year.

"(Strong copper import data) backs up other data which has suggested fundamentals are strong, such as falling inventories and rising premiums," ANZ said in a report.

However, potentially clouding the outlook, China also reported an unexpected acceleration in export growth in September and a record trade surplus with the United States, which could exacerbate an already-heated dispute between Beijing and Washington.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LONDON COPPER: London Metal Exchange (LME) copper had climbed 0.6 percent to $6,278 a tonne by 0610 GMT, after closing flat in the previous session. It was set to log a 1.7 percent gain for the week.

* SHANGHAI COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper rose half-a-percent to 50,450 yuan ($7,312) a tonne. Open interest in China's copper contract is the lowest in 15 months.

* IMPORTS: China's imports of copper, which include anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished copper products, rose 24 percent from August to 521,000 tonnes last month, customs data showed on Friday.

* U.S. DOLLAR: The U.S. dollar traded at its lowest level this month against its major peers on Friday as declining U.S. treasury yields and further losses on Wall Street soured sentiment.

* ALUMINIUM: London Metal Exchange aluminium climbed 0.8 percent to $2,037 a tonne, moving further above the $2,000 level that has been its base since April. Prices were on course for a loss of nearly 4 percent this week, extending 2018's drop to 11 percent.

* ALUMINA: Putting downward pressure on raw material costs, aluminium maker Norsk Hydro said it would resume half-production at its giant Brazilian alumina plant, just days after declaring it would shut down completely.

* TARIFFS: Canada does not hold out much hope that Washington will quickly lift tariffs that it imposed on steel and aluminium exports, and is resisting a U.S. push to agree to strict quotas, two sources familiar with the matter said.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares found a slightly firmer footing on Friday to set course for their first gains in two weeks, but the rout continued in Shanghai where shares hit lows last seen in 2014.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0900 Euro zone Industrial production Aug

1230 U.S. Import prices Sep

1230 U.S. Export prices Sep

1400 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index Oct

*No fixed timing

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

ARBS ($1 = 6.8994 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Melanie Burton Editing by Joseph Radford

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