January 5, 2017 / 2:10 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-London copper builds on China demand

* Rose overnight on copper-intensive China rail plan

* Holds on to advances (Updates prices)

By James Regan

SYDNEY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - London copper recouped earlier losses on Thursday to build on a price surge overnight, aided by a brightening outlook for Chinese metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.4 percent at $5,668 a tonne at 0700 GMT. The contract posted a 2.6 percent rise overnight after China unveiled a metals-intensive railway construction plan that would require massive amounts of copper wiring.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.88 percent to 45,760 yuan ($6,607) a tonne.

Traders said news that Zambian workers had downed tools at a mine and copper processing plant belonging to Konkola Copper Mines over wage talks, was insufficient to raise concerns over supply.

But if workers at the BHP Billiton-owned Escondida copper mine in Chile - the world’s biggest - decide to strike in February over collective contract talks, copper could get a price boost.

Labour talks at Escondida are seen as a benchmark for the copper industry at large.

“At Escondida alone, over 1.1 million tonnes is at risk should negotiators fail to reach agreement on a new long-term labour contract,” Barclays analyst Dane Davis said in a note.

Elsewhere in metals, ShFE aluminium was down 0.4 percent at 12,570 yuan, while ShFE zinc and ShFE lead were each around 2 percent higher.

LME aluminium was trading 0.07 percent higher at $1,697 a tonne. Zinc was 0.19 percent firmer at $2,626 a tonne, while nickel was 0.9 percent higher $10,300 a tonne.

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 = 6.9256 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Sunil Nair)

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