* LME copper set for longest run of weekly gains since 2012
* Tighter supply, economic optimism underpins prices (Adds details, quotes)
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, July 11 (Reuters) - London copper edged lower on Friday, but the market was on track for a fourth consecutive week of gains with tightening global supplies and economic optimism driving prices higher.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange eased 0.1 percent to $7,155.50 a tonne by 0409 GMT, below a 4-1/2 month high of $7,212 reached earlier this week.
Prices were up marginally for the week, their fourth weekly gain in a row, which would be the longest winning streak since December 2012.
The most-traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.4 percent to 50,830 yuan ($8,200) a tonne.
“Physically the market has been relatively tight, LME and Shanghai futures exchange stocks are relatively lean,” said Andrew Shaw, head of base metals research at Credit Suisse in Singapore.
“But we are now seeing signs of seasonal slowing down in key metals consuming sectors. The market might take a breather for a while,” Shaw added
LME copper has risen 7.5 percent so far over four weeks, the biggest since September 2012, while zinc has added more than 9 percent in the same period, the most since December 2013.
Copper inventory levels in LME-registered warehouses, at 158,100 tonnes, are at their lowest in nearly six years, having steadily dropped in the last 12 months. MCU-STOCKS
Signs of global economic recovery have gathered pace following last week’s strong U.S. jobs data and factory numbers from China that reinforced expectations of a pickup in demand for industrial metals.
While Thursday’s data in China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, showed its trade performance improved in June, it missed market forecasts and suggested that Beijing will have to unveil more stimulus measures to stabilise the economy.
China’s copper imports fell in June to the lowest since April 2013 as banks reduced lending for metals imports following a probe into alleged fraudulent metals financing at Qingdao port.
Standard Bank Plc said it has a total exposure related to China’s Qingdao port of about $170 million worth of aluminium, and has started legal proceedings in Shandong province to protect its position.
Societe Generale is merging its open outcry trading team on the London Metal Exchange with its unit Newedge, cutting the number of LME “ring-dealing” members to 10.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Three month LME tin ($1 = 6.2077 Chinese Yuan Renminbi) (Editing by Himani Sarkar)