* LME reopens after long weekend
* Patience still required for nickel upside - ANZ
* Nickel, tin hit month low, aluminium hits 2/12-month trough (Adds closing prices, details)
By Maytaal Angel
LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - Copper hit a three-week low on Tuesday, as a strong dollar spurred profit-taking and overshadowed hopes that demand from top consumer China will recover, thanks in part to government stimulus measures.
China’s state planning agency on Monday listed more than 1,000 proposed projects totalling 1.97 trillion yuan ($318 billion) it is inviting private investors to help fund, build and operate. Copper is used extensively in construction.
But weighing on copper, the dollar rose more than 1 percent against a currency basket, helped by upbeat U.S. consumer confidence and durable goods data and by increasing nervousness about Greece.
A stronger dollar makes dollar-priced metals more expensive for holders of other currencies.
“Fears are emerging regarding copper’s recent strength. People are saying its done too much too soon. Sellers are emerging to test recent support,” a trader said.
Three-month LME copper cut early gains to close down 0.9 pct at $6,106.50 a tonne. Copper has been on a mostly upward trajectory since touching 5-1/2 year lows in January.
London Metal Exchange data showed copper stocks MCU-STOCKS fell to 327,800 tonnes. The metal was widely tipped to move into significant surplus this year, but this has yet to transpire, with LME stocks having failed to rise for the last two months.
“There was over-optimism about mine supply (this year). Physical demand has been disappointing (but) we expect it to pick up in the second half,” said Caroline Bain, senior commodities economist at Capital Economics.
Nickel rallied nearly 2 percent overnight before retreating to end down 0.3 percent at $12,675 a tonne, after LME data showed nickel stocks hit a record of 463,800 tonnes. <0#MNISTX-LOC>
The metal hit its lowest in about a month earlier.
ANZ said three of its four bullish indicators had turned positive for nickel, including a drawdown in Chinese stores of nickel pig iron (NPI), rising ferrronickel imports and higher NPI prices, but it remained cautious on the outlook.
“If LME nickel stocks start to decline, we would have greater confidence that the market had found a bottom,” the bank said.
Aluminium ended down 0.9 percent at $1,752 a tonne, having hit its lowest since mid-March earlier, under pressure from rising supplies and worldwide falls in premiums or surcharges for physical metal deliveries.
Zinc ended unchanged at $2,177 a tonne, lead closed down 0.6 percent at $1,936 a tonne, while tin closed down 2.1 percent at $15,490 a tonne, having earlier hit its lowest in a month.
“China imported a massive volume of tin ores and concentrates in April, once again illustrating why the market is oversupplied and why supply cuts from Indonesia (rather than simply rhetoric) are required,” said Macquarie.
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 = 6.2025 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by David Holmes and Susan Thomas)