* Shfe zinc slides 5 pct on prospects of rising global stocks
* Comex speculators turn net long on copper
* Coming Up: U.S. Existing home sales Aug at 1400 GMT (Adds comment, detail, updates prices)
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, Sept 21 (Reuters) - London copper climbed off two-week lows hit earlier on Monday, as China imported more copper, but jitters still lingered over the health of the global economy after the U.S. Federal Reserve last week delayed an interest rate rise.
Copper prices climbed after data showed China imported 12 percent more refined copper in August than a year earlier as global prices fell further than local prices. But demand is still down by nearly 7 percent for the year.
“Across the space it looks like demand is sluggish, weak, lacking a catalyst. We’re looking at China and we’re not seeing a reacceleration of activity there that’s going to hoover up the surplus we’re finding in all these commodities,” said analyst Dan Morgan at UBS in Sydney.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed by 0.6 percent to $5,284 a tonne by 0216 GMT, after prices hit the weakest at $5,208 a tonne since Sept. 8.
The Fed’s move to delay raising rates because the global economic recovery was not sufficiently entrenched to withstand potential turbulence has soured risk appetite and amplified worries that China’s slowdown could derail global growth.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper skidded 1.4 percent to close at 40,340 yuan ($6,334) a tonne, having also plumbed two-week lows.
Business confidence data from China and the euro zone will offer some pointers this week to where the global economy is going after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept markets guessing about when it will begin raising rates.
There were some signs of improving sentiment towards copper, as focus shifts back to supply-side concerns, following a quake in Chile that sparked only a short-term disruption to miners’ operations, but acted as a stark reminder for investors of the fragility of supply.
Hedge funds and money managers moved to a net long position in copper contracts in the week ended Sept. 15, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
In other metals, LME zinc fell 1.7 percent, dragged down by a nearly 5 percent fall in Shanghai as traders turned bearish given prospects exchange stocks could jump further.
Substantial amounts of base metal zinc could be released onto world markets, weighing further on fast falling prices, as major producer Glencore implements a plan to liquidate some of its commodity inventories to help pay off debt.
LME zinc stocks have soared by <0#MZNSTX-LOC-GRD> nearly 200,000 tonnes or 50 percent from early August.
LME nickel climbed by 2.3 percent as China’s exports more than doubled from a year ago to around 20600 tonnes as stainless steel producers use more refined nickel in their feed, given stocks of nickel laterite ore have dried up.
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 = 6.3687 Chinese yuan Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Michael Perry and Subhranshu Sahu