July 15, 2014 / 10:02 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Copper edges up, China growth in focus

* U.S. Fed foresees loose monetary policy

* Recovery incomplete - Fed

* China Q2 gross domestic product data due on Wednesday (Adds closing prices)

By Harpreet Bhal and Maytaal Angel

LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - Copper steadied on Tuesday as optimism about demand for industrial metals from top consumer China and dovish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve offset selling by some traders who cashed in following recent gains.

The U.S. economic recovery remains incomplete, with a still-ailing job market and stagnant wages justifying loose monetary policy for the foreseeable future, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a Senate committee earlier.

Investors are at the same time less worried about a growth slowdown in top copper consumer China, putting their faith in Chinese government promises to keep growth steady.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect Chinese GDP data due out on Wednesday will show the economy steadied in the second quarter with annual growth holding firm at 7.4 percent, suggesting a recovery is taking hold.

“We might see buying in advance of the Chinese numbers because the talk is the GDP might be better than expected,” said INTL FCStone analyst Ed Meir.

He added, however: “A lot of the (good) news is reflected in the $600 advance (since mid-June). I don’t see another leg higher in the short term.”

Benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME) copper ended kerb trading at $7,130 a tonne, up 0.14 percent and bouncing off a two-week low of $7,078.25 hit earlier in the session.

Copper jumped 9 percent from June lows to hit a 4-1/2 month peak of $7,212 a tonne on July 8 but has failed to build on the gains, despite generally improving economic sentiment.

Traders said the failure to break any higher indicated a chart-based signal to sell.

“Technical and speculative selling is getting more confident with lack of upside follow through,” said a trader in Hong Kong. The trader sees support at $7,080, $7,045, and $6,900.

Also a risk for copper, LME stocks have risen slightly over the past few sessions, with fears creeping in that this is the beginning of an uptrend.

LME warehouses in Asia have registered a flurry of small deliveries this month, sparking a reminder of a copper surplus that is expected to feed into the market in the second half.

Overall though, stocks are still near their lowest in nearly six years. MCU-STOCKS

In other metals, aluminium ended up 0.93 percent at $1,960 a tonne, having hit a fresh 13 month high of $1,967.25 a tonne earlier.

Aluminium stocks MAL-STOCKS have fallen to a 22-month low below 5 million tonnes. Reflecting a tightening market, the discount for cash aluminium to three-month prices narrowed to $20.07, its smallest since late 2012. CMAL0-3

“We are moving from a chronic global surplus (in aluminium) to a modest deficit,” said Natixis analyst Nic Brown.

Zinc ended 0.35 percent lower at $2,299 a tonne, tin closed up 0.11 percent at $22,175 a tonne, lead ended down 0.23 percent at $2,208 a tonne and nickel closed down 0.13 percent at $19,325 a tonne.

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

Three month LME tin

Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney, editing by Jane Baird and Keiron Henderson

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