March 30, 2017 / 5:07 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-London copper eases on stronger dollar; economic cues eyed

 (Adds detail, updates prices)
    MELBOURNE, March 30 (Reuters) - London copper slipped on
Thursday in low-volume trade as the dollar held gains on
brighter economic signals from the United States and traders
waited for further U.S. and China economic cues for direction. 
    With the U.S. economy having now "largely attained" a full
recovery from recession, the Federal Reserve can raise interest
rates three or more times this year, a centrist Fed policymaker
said on Wednesday, helping support the dollar.
    "So far in today's Asian session, traders seem to have
returned to selling but in very thin volumes, which could be no
more than profit-taking. So, once again people will look to the
European day for direction," said Malcolm Freeman of UK-based
broker Kingdom Futures in a report.
    Cues for direction may come as soon as the final U.S.
fourth-quarter growth numbers are announced later in the
session, or when China's manufacturing figures are out on
Friday, he said.
    * LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had
slipped 0.5 percent to $5,879.50 a tonne by 0742 GMT. That pared
a 0.6-percent gain from the previous session, when prices hit
their highest since March 20 at $5,927.50. 
    * SHANGHAI COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper
rose 0.4 percent to 47,460 yuan ($6,881) a tonne.
    * CHINA: China's economy, the world's second largest, will
likely expand 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2017, the
official Xinhua agency quoted a government think-tank as saying.

    * CHINA PROPERTY: Moody's Investors Service warned that the
financial risks facing China from a potential property downturn
have grown as record lending has made banks more risk-prone
while the government is less able to combat those risks.

    * ESCONDIDA: Chile's Escondida named a new president to run
the BHP Billiton-operated mine on Thursday, days after the
company failed to clinch a wage deal with workers after an
historically long strike.
    * ZINC FEES: Korea Zinc Inc, the world's
third-largest zinc smelter, has agreed to take a 15 percent drop
in annual processing fees for 2017 as smelters grapple with a
dearth of mine supply, Metal Bulletin reported.
    * LME ALUMINIUM: Metals traders have positioned for further
rise in aluminium price, Kingdom Futures said, citing large
scale options buying around the $2,000 strike. LME aluminium
 traded flat at $1960, having hit $1,963.50 earlier, its
highest since May 2015.
    * MARKETS: Asian shares turned lower on Thursday after
touching near two-year highs, while the dollar benefited from
waning expectations that the European Central Bank was poised to
end its easy policy.    
    * COMING UP: 1230  U.S. GDP Final Q4 
 BASE METALS PRICES                   0739 GMT
 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                   
 LME/SHFE COPPER                            
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM                         
 LME/SHFE ZINC                              
 LME/SHFE LEAD                              
 LME/SHFE NICKEL                             
 (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and
Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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