* China copper imports fall 30 pct m/m in April
* LME/ShFE arb: tmsnrt.rs/2oQ5nm2
* Tin price firms as inventories hit lowest since 1989 (Updates with closing prices)
By Jan Harvey
LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Copper slid to a four-month low on Monday after data showed a sharp drop in imports into China, the world’s biggest consumer, feeding pessimism over demand following hefty inflows into London Metal Exchange inventories last week.
China’s April copper imports fell 30 percent month on month to 300,000 tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed, and were down by a third from a year ago as a subdued outlook for industrial activity weighed on demand.
“Sentiment is still down in the copper market due to the increase in the LME inventories (last week), and especially today due to the fact that Chinese trade figures were disappointing,” said ABN Amro analyst Casper Burgering.
“We have some new data coming out this week and next, especially industrial production from China. Given the decrease in the PMI level recently, everybody is worried that that will translate into lower industrial production on a yearly basis, and if that happens the copper price will be negative again. It will be an interesting week.”
* LONDON COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed 1.8 percent down at $5,486 a tonne, having earlier touched $5,462.50, its lowest since Jan. 4.
* LME STOCKS: Copper inventories in London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouses dipped by 3,100 tonnes on Friday, exchange data showed, after surging by more than 100,000 tonnes in the previous three days.
* COMEX COPPER: Money managers raised their net long position in copper futures and options in the week to May 2, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed.
* TECHNICALS: LME copper could break support at $5,508 a tonne and fall into a $5,352-$5,443 range, its wave pattern, a Fibonacci projection analysis and a falling channel suggest, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Aluminium could test support at $1,889, a break of which could cause a loss to the next support at $1,876, he said.
* ALUMINIUM PRICES: LME aluminium ended the day 1.3 percent down at $1,879 a tonne, off an earlier two-month low of $1,874.
* TIN STOCKS: Stocks of tin in LME warehouses fell by a further 115 tonnes on Friday to their lowest since 1989 at 2,375 tonnes. LME tin inventories have declined by more than 60 percent from their mid-February peak.
* LME TIN: Bucking the weaker trend across most other base metals, tin gained 0.6 percent to close at $19,700 a tonne.
* ZINC BACKWARDATION: Zinc closed in a small backwardation on Friday for the first time since Feb. 20 CMZN0-3.
* OTHER METALS: LME nickel, untraded at the close, ended little changed at $9,145 a tonne, while zinc finished 0.3 percent up at $2,589 and lead 0.6 percent down at $2,169.
Additional reporting by James Regan in Sydney; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans