December 18, 2014 / 7:49 AM / 5 years ago

METALS-LME copper eases in step with oil

* Shanghai copper gets lift via upbeat China economic survey

* LME copper recoils in step with lower U.s. crude

* Analysts watching dollar post U.S. Fed review (Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By James Regan

SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - London copper was lower on Thursday, shedding modest overnight gains in step with weaker oil, while Shanghai copper futures ended flat, stabilised by a positive economic survey of Chinese companies.

Sales, profits, and employment in China improved “a bit” during the second half of the year, the China Beige Book said in a research note distributed to clients, citing findings from its quarterly survey of 2,000 Chinese firms.

It noted that wage and job growth remained stable, and export orders picked up, helping to offset weak internal demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.42 percent at $6,341.50 a tonne by 0741 GMT.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed flat at 45,260 yuan ($7,333) a tonne.

NYMEX crude for January delivery, was 0.19 percent, or 11 cents, lower at $56.36 after settling 54 cents higher on Wednesday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve in its latest review released on Wednesday showed enough confidence in the U.S. economy to stay on track to raise interest rates next year, giving the U.S. dollar a fillip and lifting concerns metals producers outside the U.S. will boost supply.

Closing out a two-day meeting, the U.S. central bank said it would take a “patient” approach towards raising rates.

The rising strength of the U.S. dollar - the U.S. Dollar index is up 12.7 percent since early May - could become a headwind for commodities over the next 6-12 months, but it is not the only factor that drives prices, according to ANZ Bank analyst Daniel Hynes.

“We believe issues such as weak economic activity in emerging Asian economies, rising supply, and high inventories are just as important, if not more so, in the short-term,” Hynes said in a note on Thursday.

However, strong demand in combination with supply constraints makes base and precious metals “the least vulnerable” to the effects of a stronger dollar, according to Hynes.

If the U.S. data over the next two months doesn’t live up to the Fed’s expectations, analysts haven’t ruled out a weakening of the dollar.

Traders also pointed to the strengthening of Russia’s rouble after dramatic falls earlier in the week after Moscow pressured exporters not to hoard foreign-currency earnings and announced new measures to support financial stability.

Shanghai lead fell 4 pct on Thursday to hit its downside limit of 12,200 yuan, following on from a sharp drop on Wednesday.

LME three-month lead last traded down 2 percent at $1,845, having earlier hit its lowest since August 2012 at $1,836 a tonne.

Traders suggested lead was being weighed down by lower growth in electric bike sales in China and high finished stocks of batteries, two key consuming industries.

PRICES

Three month LME copper CMCU3

Most active ShFE copper SCFcv1

Three month LME aluminium CMAL3

Most active ShFE aluminium SAFcv1

Three month LME zinc CMZN3

Most active ShFE zinc SZNcv1

Three month LME lead CMPB3

Most active ShFE lead SPBcv1

Three month LME nickel CMNI3

Three month LME tin CMSN3

Editing by Sunil Nair

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