November 14, 2019 / 1:18 PM / a month ago

METALS-Copper prices tick up, more China stimulus expected

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

* LME aluminium stocks jump more than 75,000 tonnes

* LME copper stocks at 5-month lows (Updates prices, adds zinc)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Copper prices ticked up on Thursday as weak manufacturing and investment data from top consumer China encouraged expectations of further stimulus to boost growth and demand in the world's second largest economy.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange traded up 0.3% at $5,853.5 a tonne in official rings.

Prices of the metal used widely in the power and construction industries have dropped more than 10% since the 2019 peak above $6,600 hit in April.

"Given the weakness of the data we saw from China, the market does appear to be pricing in more stimulus," Caroline Bain, analyst at Capital Economics said.

"A deteriorating situation in Chile could have a major impact on supply and prices, but it would be a short term."

DATA: China's industrial output grew significantly slower than expected in October, as weakness in global and domestic demand and the drawn-out Sino-U.S. trade war weighed on activity.

Thursday's data also showed fixed asset investment, a key driver of economic growth, grew 5.2% from January-October, the lowest since Reuters' records began in 1996. The consensus was for growth of 5.4%.

TRADE: China and the United States are holding "in-depth" discussions on a first phase trade agreement, and cancelling tariffs is an important condition to reaching a deal, the Chinese commerce ministry said.

STIMULUS: China has been relying on a combination of fiscal stimulus and monetary easing to weather the current slowdown, but room for aggressive policy action has been limited by worries over debt and housing risks.

"Impact of Chinese stimulus is not yet mirrored in the hard numbers," ANZ analyst Soni Kumari said. "So, the macro backdrop has not seen any significant change and we believe the sector remains vulnerable to trade related disappointments."

CHILE: Most of Chile's copper miners said they had maintained their operations, but uncertainty lingered as the country faced more unrest after a month of violent demonstrations.

COPPER: Stocks of copper in LME registered warehouses MCUSTX-TOTAL at five-month lows around 221,000 tonnes are also supporting prices.

TECHNICALS: Copper faces resistance at the 21-day moving average currently at $5,875, while support is at $5,830 where the 100-day moving average sits.

ALUMINIUM: Stocks of aluminium in LME warehouses jumped 75,075 tonne to above one million tonnes MALSTX-TOTAL. The deliveries were made to warehouses in Malaysia and Singapore.

PRICES: Aluminium was down 0.4% at $1,758, zinc slipped 0.4% to $2,411, lead fell 0.4% to $2,027, tin rose 0.9% to $16,150 and nickel ceded 0.2% to $15,355.

ZINC: Prices of the metal used to galvanise steel earlier touched $2,401.50 a tonne, the lowest since Oct. 18, on concern about demand from steel producers in China, hidden stocks and expectations of rising output. (Reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Mark Potter)

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