METALS-Copper down, eyes weekly loss on growth worries
* LME copper set to post biggest weekly loss in 2 mths * ShFE copper logs steepest weekly loss in 2 mths * LME copper to see-saw in tight range - analysts * ShFE zinc drops 3 pct on the week * Coming up: U.S. CFTC commitment of traders data; 1930 GMT (Updates prices; adds quotes, details) By Carrie Ho SINGAPORE, Oct 12 (Reuters) - London copper slipped on Friday, and was set for its biggest weekly loss in two months, on worries about the global economy while traders waited for China's trade data over the weekend to gauge the economic health of the world's top metals consumer. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged down 0.5 percent to $8,196.25 a tonne by 0703 GMT, reversing small gains in the previous session when prices rebounded after hitting their lowest in two weeks at $8,105 a tonne. Prices are set to fall for the third week out of the past four since their rallied in early September, when the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank announced easing measures. But for now, analysts said prices will likely see-saw within a tight range in the near term. In a negative indication for metals demand over the longer term, a recent Reuters poll showed that next year offers only a slight improvement for a global economy hit by recession in Europe and slowing or moribund growth in Asia and the United States. "London copper prices haven't moved a lot over the past few sessions because investors are waiting for trading cues from the China data while they disagree among themselves over the metal's outlook," said Standard Chartered Bank analyst Judy Zhu. "Some believe in a post-stimulus rally driven by liquidity, and this helps cap losses in copper prices. Others are worried about the metal's weak fundamentals, with such worries crimping upward momentum in prices. The result is, copper prices have nowhere to go in the short term." The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed flat at 58,980 yuan ($9,400) a tonne and posted a 0.8 percent weekly fall, its biggest since the week of Aug. 5. "Shanghai copper is stifled today by a fall in Chinese equities and a lack of new reasons to cheer. Trading is also directionless ahead of upcoming China data with investors keeping to a range of 58,000-60,000 yuan," said CIFCO Futures analyst Zhou Jie. Although the weekend's China trade data is expected to show copper imports rising in September from the previous month, this may mostly be due to the arrival of term shipments booked last year, Standard Chartered's Zhu said. An improvement in the latest employment figures from the United States helped lend some cheer to the markets, but the data also caused fears of that the Fed may end its current stimulus plan. In other metals, Shanghai zinc was the biggest loser in the ShFE complex this week, dropping 3 percent from last week. Prices have fallen nearly 5 percent from a near six-month high of 16,040 yuan in mid-September due to oversupply and profit-taking in top producer and consumer China, analysts said. "Many Chinese zinc smelters have been taking up short positions on the futures market to lock in high prices during the recent rally. Most of them had been waiting to destock since prices dropped below their production costs of 15,000-15,500 yuan earlier this year," said Minmetals Futures analyst Chen Yuan. Downstream customers and traders have been wary about stocking up on zinc due to concerns over the outlook of the galvanised steelmaking material, he added. Base metals prices at 0703 GMT Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8196.25 -43.25 -0.52 7.85 SHFE CU FUT JAN3 58980 00 +0.00 6.02 LME Alum 2007.25 -8.75 -0.43 -0.63 SHFE AL FUT JAN3 15520 -10 -0.06 -2.02 HG COPPER DEC2 373.60 -1.55 -0.41 8.73 LME Zinc 1955.00 -12.00 -0.61 5.96 SHFE ZN FUT JAN3 15275 -45 -0.29 3.24 LME Nickel 17597.00 -128.00 -0.72 -5.95 LME Lead 2163.25 -20.75 -0.95 6.30 SHFE PB FUT 15820 0 +0.00 3.47 LME Tin 21850.00 -50.00 -0.23 13.80 LME/Shanghai arb 1106 Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ^ LME 3-m copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month ($1 = 6.2770 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Ed Davies and Miral Fahmy)
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