October 19, 2016 / 3:11 AM / a year ago

METALS-LME copper steady as China growth hits forecasts, property cools

* China government releases 5 year plan for base metals

* China Q3 GDP +6.7 pct year on year, hits forecast

* China industrial output +6.7 pct, beats +6.4 pct f‘cast

* Coming Up; U.S. Housing starts for Sept at 1230 GMT (Adds comment, detail, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - London copper was steady on Wednesday after China’s economic growth met expectations in the third quarter, but an impending slowdown in real estate growth painted a mixed outlook for copper demand.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, steady from the previous quarter, as increased government spending and a property boom offset stubbornly weak exports.

Industrial output and real estate investment growth, bellwethers of metals demand, beat expectations, although cities’ measures to restrict home sales mean the demand growth may cool in the months ahead.

China’s new construction starts in September, measured by floor area, were down 19.4 percent from a year ago, Reuters calculations showed, a sharp deceleration from 3.3 percent in August.

“Overall it’s still consistent with our China economists’ point of view that the economy is slowing but not going into a hard landing,” said analyst Amy Li of National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

“Base metals are used in infrastructure and real estate so we will likely see demand slow for copper and aluminium as China transitions into a more consumer focused economy.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $4,679.50 a tonne by 0250 GMT, after closing steady in the past two sessions and holding above one-month lows at $4,623.25 a tonne touched on Friday.

Other LME metals showed more vigour with zinc, lead and tin all up around half a percent.

Shanghai Futures Exchange copper was also flat at 37,260 yuan ($5,529) a tonne.

Supporting metals, Chinese banks extended 1.22 trillion yuan ($181 billion) in new loans in September, well above expectations and capping a record nine-month lending spree.

China’s government also said it would strictly control the expansion of its non-ferrous metals industry, encourage consolidation and boost proven ore reserves as part of its five-year development plan for the industry.

Supporting the dollar, U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest gain in five months in September, pointing to a steady pickup in inflation that could keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates in December. [nL1N1CO0I9

BHP Billiton on Wednesday said it was seeing signs of recovery in commodities markets but cautioned that supply was still running ahead of demand amid stronger-than-expected steel consumption in China.

The total net long position of funds trading copper on the London Metal Exchange fell to 36,019 lots last Friday from a net long position of 38,602 lots the previous week, the LME’s Commitments of Traders Report (COTR) showed on Tuesday.

PRICES

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

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin ($1 = 6.7396 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin)

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