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METALS-Shanghai copper firm on tight physical supply

 * 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 contract SCFc3 closed 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 MCU3=LX 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 OZL.AX, 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 Tin 000960.SZ has
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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