July 20, 2017 / 7:36 AM / a year ago

METALS-London copper buoyed near highest since early March

 (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 0.3
percent to $5,982.50 a tonne by 0722 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 ended the
session flat at 47,790 yuan ($7,065) a tonne.
    * LME NICKEl: LME nickel cut losses to steady down
around 0.3 percent at $9,625 a tonne, having reached three-month
highs earlier this week at $9,785 a tonne. Premiums for nickel
in China bonded zones 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 positive.
    * 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                  0717 GMT          
 Three month LME copper                            5986
 Most active ShFE copper                          47780
 Three month LME aluminium                         1927
 Most active ShFE aluminium                       14415
 Three month LME zinc                              2749
 Most active ShFE zinc                            22815
 Three month LME lead                              2227
 Most active ShFE lead                            17370
 Three month LME nickel                            9630
 Most active ShFE nickel                          78900
 Three month LME tin                              20110
 Most active ShFE tin                            146270
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                                 
 LME/SHFE COPPER               LMESHFCUc3        529.29
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM            LMESHFALc3       -720.76
 LME/SHFE ZINC                 LMESHFZNc3        644.66
 LME/SHFE LEAD                 LMESHFPBc3       -817.85
 LME/SHFE NICKEL               LMESHFNIc3       2598.05
 ($1 = 6.7645 Chinese yuan)

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