* Shanghai copper edges up on tight spot supply
* Copper down nearly 60 pct in 2008; outlook dim (Updates prices to close)
SHANGHAI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Copper futures prices in Shanghai were firm on Tuesday, boosted by high spot premiums as domestic physical supplies tightened, while London copper was little changed amid holiday-thinned trading.
The key Shanghai futures contractclosed up 20 yuan at 22,930 yuan ($3,348), recovering from a fall of almost 1 percent in early trade. London Metal Exchange three-month copper was up 0.2 percent at $2,905 by 0759 GMT.
"Most of the merchants here have stopped physical trading as holidays are approaching," said analyst Jane Jiang at the Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, adding that the physical premium was hovering around 1,000 yuan a tonne.
"The premium is a relatively high figure compared with normal year-end periods, suggesting spot supply is tight partly due to lack of secondary materials such as copper scrap," said analyst Pang Ying at trading house Runtop.
Despite the firm finish, copper prices in Shanghai and London are on track for a nearly 60 percent annual loss this year after the global financial crisis triggered large-scale deleveraging while demand weakened in major economies.
Traders will look toward the U.S. Conference Board's consumer confidence report later in the day for a sign of whether there's a possible light at the end of the recession.
"Investors in Shanghai are cautious in trading ahead of the holidays and such key economic indicators overseas. But generally speaking, the outlook on the copper prices is bleak as fundamentals are weak," said analyst Zoe Wang at China International Futures.
Chinese financial markets will close from Jan. 1 to Jan 4.
In other industry news, Oz Minerals, the world's second-largest zinc miner, has been given an extra two months to work out a deal to refinance $560 million in bank debt as it struggles with falling revenues from collapsing metals prices.
Earlier this month, Oz Minerals suspended operations at an Australian nickel mine. It has also cut zinc output at another site in Australia and stopped expansion at a copper mine in Laos. [ID:nSYD192530]
In China, mineral and metals firms that suffered losses and carried heavy inventories were cheered after the country's state reserve system kicked off a board purchase plan to support the industry.
Top Chinese tin producer Yunnan Tinhas proposed selling 30,000 tonnes of tin ingots to Yunnan province for its planned base metal reserves [nHKG30684], following China's State Reserves Bureau (SRB) agreement to buy about 300,000 tonnes of aluminium. Metal Prices by 0700 GMT: Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2007 Pct chg 08 LME Cu 2910.00 5.00 +0.17 6670.00 -56.37 SHFE Cu* 22930.00 20.00 +0.09 56880.00 -59.69 LME Alum 1527.00 16.00 +1.06 2403.00 -36.45 SHFE Alum* 11270.00 10.00 +0.09 18180.00 -38.01 COMEX Cu** 129.70 0.00 +0.00 304.10 -57.35 SHFE Zinc 9705.00 -70.00 -0.72 18950.00 -48.79 LME Lead 895.00 -25.00 -2.72 2550.00 -64.90 LME/Shanghai arb^ 385 Dollar/yuan 6.8480 \ 6.8483 ** 1st contract month for COMEX copper * 3rd contact month for SHFE aluminium, copper and zinc ^ LME 3-m copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month ($1=6.848 Yuan) (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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