* LME/ShFE arb: bit.ly/2wZSAEz (Updates with closing prices)
By Peter Hobson
LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell for a third straight day on Thursday after data showed economic growth in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, was in line was expectations.
Investors have taken profits after copper rallied on Monday above $7,000 a tonne for the first time since September 2014, said Danske Bank analyst Jens Pedersen.
“The Chinese data was, on balance, as expected,” he said, predicting that Chinese growth would slow into next year and prices would fall to $6,500 by the end of 2017.
COPPER: Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed 0.3 percent down at $6,967 a tonne, taking losses since Monday’s high of $7,177 to nearly 3 percent.
TECHNICALS: Support was at $6,900 and the Fibonacci retracement around $6,850-$6,865, broker Marex Spectron said in a note.
CHINA ECONOMY: Growth in the world’s biggest metals market looked set to accelerate this year after hardly skipping a beat in the third quarter, but efforts to cut risks in property and debt were beginning to weigh.
CHINA FACTORIES: Industrial output in September rose by a faster than expected 6.6 percent year on year and fixed-asset investment expanded by 7.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, missing forecasts.
CHINA PROPERTY: Property sales dropped for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years in September while housing starts slowed, reinforcing expectations that robust growth is cooling.
PARTY CONGRESS: Investors were looking for signals of China’s policy direction at a five-yearly Communist Party Congress that began on Wednesday.
DOLLAR: The dollar weakened to a six-day low, supporting metals by making them cheaper for holders of other currencies, despite positive U.S. data on jobs and business sentiment.
CHINA ALUMINIUM: Aluminium output in China fell for a third straight month in September but remained on track for a record high in 2017.
CHINA CRACKDOWN: A government crackdown on polluting smelters in China has driven aluminium prices to four-year highs. LME aluminium closed with a 1.6 percent gain at $2,153 a tonne.
OUTLOOK: Prices are likely to fall below $2,000 by year-end, Commerzbank analysts said in a note. “(Chinese) production decreased only negligibly month on month ... If this means that the decline in production has already come to an end, this points to falling aluminium prices,” they said.
CHINA STEEL: Chinese steel output dropped in September from a record high the previous month as mills in the world’s top producer cut output as part of a campaign for clearer skies.
PRICES: Nickel closed 0.8 percent up at $11,740 a tonne, zinc finished 0.2 percent lower at $3,114, lead was down 2 percent at $2,470 and tin fell 1.2 percent to $19,850.
Additional reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Goodman