September 14, 2016 / 3:08 AM / 4 years ago

METALS-London copper nudges up on brighter demand signals ahead of China holiday

* Nickel market eyes outcome of Philippines mine audit this week

* China markets closed from Thursday for mid-Autumn festival

* Coming up: euro zone industrial production for Jul at 0900 GMT (Updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Sept 14 (Reuters) - London copper hovered close to three-week highs on Wednesday after brighter economic indicators in the United States and China offered more evidence of a global recovery, and traders closed short positions ahead of an impending holiday in China.

U.S. household income posted a record increase in 2015 after years of stagnation, suggesting the recovery from the Great Recession was finally lifting ordinary citizens who had been largely left behind.

China’s factory output and retail sales increased faster than expected in August as a strong housing market and a government infrastructure spending spree underpinned growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

“The copper price has been pretty resilient. It’s probably enough to say, demand has picking up just a tad,” said analyst Dan Morgan at UBS in Sydney, adding that merchant premiums had lifted slightly.

“Maybe physical demand is a bit better than (investors) think.”

London Metal Exchange copper had climbed 0.6 percent to $4,678 a tonne by 0719 GMT, after closing little changed in the previous session when it hit its highest since Aug. 24 at $4,692 a tonne.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper edged up 0.7 percent to 36,730 yuan ($5,506) a tonne.

China’s power consumption reached 563.1 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) in August, up 8.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, the country’s economic planner said on Wednesday.

But funds have been turning increasingly negative on copper prospects, both via the CME and the LME.

The total net long position of funds trading copper on the London Metal Exchange fell to 10,566 lots last Friday from 18,033 lots the previous week, the LME’s Commitments of Traders Report (COTR) showed on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, workers at Anglo American’s Los Bronces copper mine in Chile began a strike on Friday after rejecting the company’s final offer in collective wage talks, Anglo said.

In other metals, LME nickel rebounded 0.7 percent, having dropped nearly 5 percent earlier this week as traders largely discounted a bigger impact from a crackdown in Philippine mine supply, with the results of an audit expected this week.

Meanwhile, the temporary relocation of open outcry trading at LME to a disaster recovery site due to problems at its new offices hit volumes hard during the already quiet summer months, broking sources said.

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 = 6.6711 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)

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