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METALS-Copper rises as robust demand trumps worries about virus

(Recasts, updates prices)

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Copper prices rebounded on Thursday as strong demand in top consumer China overcame concerns that rising COVID-19 cases around the world will dampen global growth.

Global stocks and oil prices pared losses after earlier sliding due to worries about governments across Europe tightening restrictions to battle accelerating virus infections.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had gained 0.7% to $6,763.50 a tonne by 1615 GMT, bouncing after earlier sinking as low as $6,668. It has rebounded by about 50% since touching 45-month lows in March.

LME copper hit its highest in more than two years on Sept. 21, and prices have since hovered between $6,300 and $6,900 a tonne.

“For copper, the fundamentals have been quite resilient, primarily due to China’s recovery, and supply has been a bit tighter as well,” said Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International in London.

“But there’s still lots of uncertainty on the macro front, including surrounding the U.S. election and concerns about the rest of the world’s recovery.”

Markets have also been pressured over a lack of progress on another U.S. coronavirus relief package, but U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion.

* A global nickel market surplus of 117,000 tonnes is forecast for this year, with excess supply narrowing to 68,000 tonnes in 2021, the International Nickel Study Group said.

* Also weighing on metals markets was a firmer dollar , which makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

* Aurubis, Europe’s biggest copper smelter, said it would offer its customers unchanged 2021 copper premiums of $96 per tonne above LME prices.

* LME aluminium added 0.1% to $1,854 a tonne, zinc gained 0.5% to $2,430, lead fell 1.1% to $1,775.50, nickel rose 0.6% to $15,430 and tin edged up 0.3% to $18,345.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by Pravin Char and Mark Potter)