May 9, 2017 / 10:31 AM / in 3 years

METALS-Copper edges up after steep losses on worries over China

* LME/ShFE arb: (Adds closing prices, copper comment)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) - Copper inched up on Tuesday after falling to a four-month low in the previous session due to data showing a sharp drop in imports of the metal by China, which consumes nearly half the world’s copper.

“It’s a correction following a few months of losses,” said Sergey Raevskiy, an analyst at SP Angel. “Copper might trail in the second and third quarter on increasing rates in the U.S. and ... (monetary policy) tightening in China.”

Capping copper’s gains, the dollar rose versus a currency basket, with another U.S. rate hike in June now almost certain. A stronger dollar makes dollar-priced copper more expensive for holders of other currencies.

ETF Securities commodity strategist Nitesh Shah said copper’s four-month low the previous session had inspired bargain hunting.

COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended 0.5 percent higher at $5,512 a tonne, after touching its lowest since January in the previous session.

COPPER STOCKS: Daily LME data showed copper stocks down 8,725 tonnes to 342,825. However, they remain near their highest since last October, fuelling pessimism over demand following hefty inflows in LME warehouses last week.

GLOBAL MARKETS: European stocks rose on continuing relief from this weekend’s French presidential election. Asian stocks did not perform as well, as China’s seventh consecutive loss , the longest losing streak for four years, weighed on sentiment.

COPPER SUPPLY: A planned second phase expansion of Polish miner KGHM’s Sierra Gorda copper project in Chile will definitely not happen now. The project had originally targeted 220,000 tonnes of copper per year.

ZINC TECHNICALS: The premium for cash zinc versus the three-month price traded at its highest since Feb. 20, indicating tightening nearby supply. CMZN0-3

ZINC: Zinc added 0.9 percent to $2,612 a tonne.

LEAD DOMINANT POSITION: LME data showed one entity holds 80-90 percent of lead warrants, “tomorrow” and cash contracts, with tomorrow contracts trading at a premium to cash.

PHILIPPINES NICKEL: The new environment minister for the Philippines said it was possible to strike a balance between allowing mining and protecting natural resources, adding he wanted time to assess measures taken by his predecessor, who ordered the closure of more than half of the country’s mines. The Philippines is the world’s top nickel ore supplier.

PRICES: Nickel rose 0.8 percent to $9,215 a tonne, aluminium fell 0.5 percent to $1,870.50, tin ended 0.1 percent lower at $19,675, while lead rose 0.3 percent to $2,175.

Additional reporting by James Regan in Sydney, Zandi Shabalala in London; Editing by David Evans and Edmund Blair

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