December 8, 2016 / 2:34 AM / in 3 years

METALS-London copper prices inch up as dollar falls

* London copper up after losses the day before

* Shanghai futures slip on profit-taking

* Dollar move sparks some LME buying (Updates prices)

By James Regan

SYDNEY, Dec 8 (Reuters) - London copper futures edged up on Thursday after losses the session before, buoyed by a softer U.S. dollar and strong Chinese commodities import figures

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, stood at 100.09, back near a three-week low of 99.85 set on Monday, making greenback-denominated LME copper cheaper to buy for holders of other currencies.

“Copper is a little cheaper today and that had a positive effect,” said a trader in Perth. “Other than that, the fundamentals appear intact, with stronger demand probably coming from China next year.”

Risk appetite got an extra boost when China reported upbeat trade figures with exports and imports both beating forecasts. Resource imports were very strong. {nL4N1E31XA]

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had risen 0.04 percent to $5,808 a tonne by 0700 GMT, reversing losses from the previous session.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 1.50 percent to 47,210 yuan ($6,862) a tonne, with traders attributing the modest retreat to profit-taking and a switch to equities.

A slide in oil prices on bearish U.S. petroleum inventory data and doubts that production cuts promised by OPEC and Russia would end a global supply overhang, kept a lid on commodities trading across metals.

ANZ Bank said in a note that copper appeared to be consolidating, with a lack of catalysts likely to keep prices range-bound.

Copper prices surged 20 percent last month. Momentum was driven by hopes that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would spend more on infrastructure and that Chinese economic activity and speculative spending would pick up.

China’s retail investors have flocked to metals, given a cooling property market and because many were burned in the country’s stock market meltdown last year.

A flood of data from China in coming weeks is expected to show the economy growing at a steady pace in November, according to a Reuters poll.

Three-month LME zinc rose 0.04 percent to $2,751 a tonne, while the most-traded contract for the metal on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was 1.4 percent weaker at 22,850 yuan a tonne.

Zinc is the best-performing LME metal this year, having surged almost 72 percent since Jan. 1, although it’s now down 8 percent from a nine-year peak of $2,985 touched on Nov. 28.

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 = 6.8802 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Joseph Radford and Amrutha Gayathri)

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