July 28, 2015 / 3:22 AM / 5 years ago

METALS-London copper rises as Beijing reaffirms support for shares

* Copper sentiment remains bearish, more losses seen -traders

* Century to close Ravenswood aluminium smelter

* Coming Up: FOMC begins two-day policy meeting (Adds detail, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, July 28 (Reuters) - London copper climbed on Tuesday, after sliding to six-year lows in the previous session, as China pledged to halt a stockmarket rout that has unnerved investors and undermined demand prospects for metals.

Chinese shares fell on Tuesday, as Beijing scrambled once again to prop up a stock market whose wild gyrations have heightened fears about the financial stability of the world’s second biggest economy.

China’s top economic planner said that it was optimistic on the outlook for the economy in the second half of 2015, but was paying close attention to volatility in the country’s stock markets.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange steadied before climbing 0.6 percent to $5,220 a tonne by 0729 GMT. It hit its weakest in six years at $5,164 in the previous session when it fell 1.4 percent. Prices are down around 17 percent for the year.

“I can’t see it (copper) holding personally,” said a broker in Hong Kong.

“With stock markets down and volume not that great I would say we are still looking lower.”

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper trimmed early losses to trade down 0.3 percent at 38,330 yuan ($6,174) a tonne.

Broker Triland noted limited consumer buying interest. “This is little surprise when ample supplies of metal are available, Chinese manufacturing is slowing and energy prices continue to fall. This downtrend is firmly established and Goldman’s call of $4,500 starts to look more realistic by the day.”

However, supply side constraints resurfaced after Canadian-based copper miner, First Quantum Minerals, said that power cuts imposed by Zambia’s state-run electricity company have hit its mining operations in the north western province of the country.

Elsewhere, a gauge of U.S. business investment plans rebounded solidly in June after two straight months of declines, suggesting the drag on manufacturing from capital spending cuts was starting to ebb.

Meanwhile, Century Aluminum said it will shut its Ravenswood smelter in West Virginia immediately as it had failed to secure competitive power supply amid tough market conditions.

Aluminium producers are seeing their profits dwindle due to sinking prices of the metal which has caused a round of production cuts.

LME aluminium sank to within a whisker of six-year lows last week at $1,632 a tonne, but had recovered to $1,649 on Tuesday.

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 = 6.2085 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Ed Davies and Subhranshu Sahu)

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