November 8, 2018 / 11:34 AM / 10 months ago

METALS-Copper steady as traders weigh dollar gains against China growth bets

* Dollar extends recovery on post-election relief

* China October copper imports fell, data shows (Recasts, adds detail, closing prices)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Copper steadied on Thursday as traders weighed an uptick in the dollar and a drop in China’s imports of the metal against improved Chinese growth prospects.

China, which consumes nearly half the world’s copper, registered a 19 percent monthly drop in copper imports in October, data showed.

Aanalysts, however, were not too downbeat on copper.

“There’s a Golden Week effect in (the data). October data is usually lower. I would still expect relatively high refined copper imports over the fourth quarter because the import arbitrage has been wide open,” said Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.

The copper import data was part of a batch of China trade figures that showed much stronger than expected exports as shippers rushed goods to the United States to beat higher tariffs due to kick in at the start of next year.

Import growth also defied forecasts for a slowdown, suggesting that Beijing’s growth-boosting measures could be starting to have an impact.

“Two or three weeks ago ... the feeling was that China wasn’t reacting quickly enough to the weaker equity markets, but now we’re getting better figures ... it should be supportive (of copper) in the short term,” Hamilton said.

* PRICES: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange ended flat at $6,155 a tonne, while aluminium closed 0.3 percent up at $1,990.

* DOLLAR: The dollar rose after the U.S. midterm elections went largely as expected and investors turned their attention towards Federal Reserve policy.

* CHILE COPPER: Chile’s copper production from January to September jumped 7.3 percent, boosted by a sharp increase in production at BHP’s Escondida copper mine.

* CHINA ALUMINIUM: China’s aluminium exports fell in October because of sliding domestic production.

* CHINA-U.S. TRADE: The U.S. will impose final duties on Chinese common alloy aluminium sheet products.

* BRAZIL ALUMINIUM: A Brazilian court has upheld a decision forcing aluminium producer Norsk Hydro to run its Alunorte alumina refinery at half capacity.

* JAPAN METALS: Japan’s Sumitomo cut its full-year profit forecast, blaming lower than expected metal prices, reduced nickel output and the U.S.-Sino trade conflict.

* INDONESIA TIN: Indonesia’s refined tin exports in October fell 42 percent after the country’s only tin-trading bourse introduced restrictions on some sales.

* PRICES: Zinc closed 2.8 percent up at $2,522.50, having hit its lowest in 1-1/2 months. Lead finished with a 4 percent gain at $2,004, tin was up 1.4 percent at $19,325 and nickel was down 0.3 percent at $11,780.

Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman

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