* Strike continues at Noranda zinc processing plant in
* Workers at Chile's Escondida block a highway
* Coming up: euro zone inflation for Feb at 1000 GMT
(Adds comment, detail; updates prices)
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, March 2 London copper was steady on
Thursday near a one-week high as a strong dollar weighed against
improving manufacturing reports out of Asia and the United
States that brightened the outlook for demand.
China's factory activity expanded faster than expected in
February as domestic and export demand picked up, while South
Korea's industrial production surged at its quickest pace in
over seven years in January.
"Positive economic data and further supply-side issues
should see metal prices well supported today," ANZ said in a
London Metal Exchange copper traded little changed
at $6,017 a tonne by 0714 GMT, holding near a 0.7 percent gain
from the previous session when prices marked their strongest
since Feb. 21 at $6,090 a tonne.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper finished up 0.8
percent at 48,690 yuan ($7,072) a tonne.
A three-week-long strike at Chile's Escondida copper mine,
the world's biggest, turned ugly on Wednesday when a group of
striking workers blocked a highway, provoking confrontations
with the police.
U.S. consumer spending cooled in January as demand for
automobiles and utilities fell, but inflation recorded its
biggest monthly increase in four years, raising the probability
of an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve this month.
Expectations of a rate hike propelled the dollar higher and
dampened some interest in metals, as the rising greenback makes
them more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.
In zinc news, Noranda Income Fund said it was
deferring its 2017 zinc production and sales forecasts due to an
ongoing strike by workers at its Quebec processing plant, the
second-largest in North America.
Meanwhile, China has ordered steel and aluminium producers
in 28 cities to slash output during winter, outlined plans to
curb coal use in the capital and required coal transport by rail
in the north, as Beijing intensifies its war on smog, a policy
LME aluminium prices rallied 1.3 percent on
Wednesday to hit the highest in more than 20 months at $1,957 a
tonne. Prices on Thursday retraced some of those gains to
The market's attention will now shift to the outcome of a
China leadership meeting at the weekend at which further
policies to curb air pollution and possibly speculation in
commodities markets may be unveiled.
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 = 6.8851 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and