By James Regan
SYDNEY, May 17 (Reuters) - London copper prices were largely unchanged on Wednesday, stymied by expectations of slowing growth in the economy of top metals consumer China.
After clocking 6.9 percent in the first quarter thanks to spending on infrastructure and a property boom that policymakers want to rein in, analysts surveyed by Reuters reckon 2017 economic growth will just about make Beijing’s target of 6.5 percent as it slows over the rest of the year.
China accounts for nearly half the world’s demand for copper, widely used in construction and infrastructure.
“Copper’s trading on the sidelines for now, there’s not much fundamentally to push it up,” said a commodities trader in Perth on condition of anonymity.
* LONDON COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was 0.19 percent higher at $5,622 a tonne by 0127 GMT, after marking a similar gain overnight.
* SHANGHAI COPPER: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 0.22 percent at 45,390 yuan ($6,590)a tonne.
* NICKEL MINE: Vale Canada said on Tuesday it would suspend operations at its Birchtree nickel mine in the province of Manitoba on Oct. 1 because of weak nickel prices and declining ore grades as the small, 51-year-old mine nears the end of its life.
* BHP: Activist investor Elliott Management raised the pressure for strategic changes at BHP on Tuesday, calling for an independent review of the mining giant’s petroleum business.
* CHINA GROWTH: China’s growth is set for its weakest patch since the global financial crisis as authorities pull back on stimulus.
* CHINA BANKERS: China’s banking regulator has tightened disclosure rules on lenders’ wealth management products. Separately, the China Banking Regulatory Commission unveiled plans to publish a flurry of regulations later this year to control financial risks.
* LME LEAD: LME lead was up around 0.7 percent at $2.098 a tonne after sliding to a four-month low overnight. Lead is mainly used to manufacture car batteries. ShFE lead dipped 0.25 percent to 15,710 yuan.
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* U.S. share futures and the dollar slipped in early Asian trade on Wednesday after reports that President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end a probe into his former security adviser.
DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0900 Euro zone Inflation final Apr
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
ARBS ($1 = 6.8840 Chinese yuan renminbi) ($1 = 6.8880 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Joseph Radford