June 17, 2015 / 2:21 AM / 5 years ago

METALS-Copper climbs off 3-month lows as summer slowdown eyed, but could fall more

* LME copper stock build looms over prices - Triland

* Coming up: Fed releases policy statement at 1800 GMT (Adds comment, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, June 17 (Reuters) - London copper on Wednesday edged off a three-month low touched in the previous session, with worries over a possible Greek exit from the euro zone and an expected seasonal summer slowdown dragging on prices.

Greece’s prime minister accused its creditors on Tuesday of trying to “humiliate” Greeks with more cuts as he defied a growing drumbeat of warnings that Europe was preparing for his country to leave the euro.

Attention was again focusing on the strength of copper demand from top user China.

“People here are very bearish at the moment, because the peak consumption season is already over - the market has turned very quiet again and end users have seen order books shrinking,” said analyst Judy Zhu of Standard Chartered in Shanghai.

“It’s quite possible that we are going to revisit the lows we saw in January, but I think that level has strong support because that’s the break-even point for big smelters here in China, and also it could attract SRB buying,” she added, referring to the State Reserve Bureau, China’s strategic commodity buyer.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had climbed 0.4 percent to $5,773.50 a tonne by 0800 GMT, recouping part of its 1.3 percent loss in the previous session, when it slid to its weakest since March 19 at $5,749 a tonne.

LME copper prices sank to 5-1/2 year lows below $5,350 a tonne in late January.

LME copper inventories are also rising again, which may exert fresh pressure on prices, broker Triland said in a note.

“Should this upward trend in warehouse stocks continue, despite the return of a healthy contango, then the copper market in the short term is weaker than it appears.”

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.9 percent to 41,810 yuan ($6,735) a tonne, having plumbed a near three-month low.

A trader said he doesn’t think the market is really positioned for further losses in copper: “which makes me believe that $5,500 is attainable over the summer months.”

In other metals, LME aluminium inched away from the prior session’s 16-month trough, trading at $1,706, weighed down by more easily accessible physical stocks as traders lose appetite to finance and store the metal.

Meanwhile, LME nickel steadied, although downward pressure could persist given losses in Shanghai, of 1.8 percent, amid volatility in the new contract related to brands that are able to be delivered.

Wall Street expects the U.S. Federal Reserve to finish its near zero interest rate policy by year-end as the economy will likely improve in 2016, a securities industry survey released on Tuesday showed.

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 = 6.2080 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)

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