July 20, 2017 / 6:01 AM / a year ago

METALS-London copper buoyed near highest since early March

 (Adds comment, detail, updates prices)
    By Melanie Burton
    MELBOURNE, July 20 (Reuters) - London copper marked time on
Thursday near its highest since early March, underpinned by
brighter prospects for China's economy but awaiting a U.S. jobs
report for cues on near-term direction. 
    Copper has come under pressure as investors took profits
after the strong run in recent weeks, said ANZ in a report. 
    "However investors remain wary of further supply side
disruptions. Workers at Antofagasto's Zaldivar mine are about to
vote on a new labour contract proposal put to them by the
company. A failure to agree could see workers strike for the
first time in the company’s history."
    * London Metal Exchange copper edged up by 0.1
percent to $5,973 a tonne by 0544 GMT, following a 0.7 percent
loss in the previous session. It reached $6,020 a tonne, the
highest since March 2, in the last session.
    * Shanghai Futures Exchange copper eased by 0.2
percent to 47,670 yuan ($7,048) a tonne.
    * LME NICKEl: LME nickel fell 0.5 percent to $9,605
a tonne, having reached three-month highs earlier this week at
$9,785 a tonne. Premiums for nickel have surged by 16 percent
this week to reach their highest in two years at $200-$220 a
tonne. Demand surged after China's import arbitrage turned
    * PREMIUMS: Premiums for zinc in China continue to fall
reflecting ample availability of metal. NI-BMPBW-SHMET
    * ECB: The European Central Bank is expected to lay the
groundwork for an autumn policy shift when it meets on Thursday,
emphasising improved growth while tempering expectations after
previously setting off a mini tantrum in financial markets.

    * GROWTH: The Asian Development Bank raised its 2017 and
2018 growth forecasts for the region, reflecting rising exports
as manufacturers of smartphones to cars to other consumer goods
benefited from improving global demand.
    * TRADE: The United States and China failed on Wednesday to
agree on major new steps to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with
China, casting doubt over President Donald Trump's economic and
security relations with Beijing.
    * U.S. ECONOMY: U.S. homebuilding surged to a four-month
high in June, but construction activity remains constrained by
rising lumber prices and labour and land shortages.
    * STRIKES: Workers at Chile's Zaldivar copper mine, owned by
Antofagasta PLC, will vote on a new contract offer
later this week, after a vote to strike last week prompted
government-mediated negotiations.
    * STRIKES: Unionized workers at mines in Peru, the world's
second biggest copper producer, started a nationwide strike on
Wednesday to protest the government's proposed labor reforms,
the head of a federation of mining unions said on Wednesday.
 BASE METALS PRICES           0542 GMT           
 Three month LME copper                      5978
 Most active ShFE                           47760
 Three month LME                             1927
 Most active ShFE                           14480
 Three month LME zinc                      2743.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                      22745
 Three month LME lead                      2226.5
 Most active ShFE lead                      17335
 Three month LME nickel                      9665
 Most active ShFE                           79270
 Three month LME tin                        20125
 Most active ShFE tin                      146850
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                           
 LME/SHFE COPPER          LMESHFCUc3        590.1
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM       LMESHFALc3       -659.7
 LME/SHFE ZINC            LMESHFZNc3        674.8
 LME/SHFE LEAD            LMESHFPBc3      -866.64
 LME/SHFE NICKEL          LMESHFNIc3      2622.46
($1 = 6.7638 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and
Sunil Nair)
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