METALS-LME copper holds above $8,000 ahead of US jobs data
* Term TC/RC deals seen settling at $70 and 7 cents - Macquarie
* Antamina says no major output problems seen on mill repair
* Coming Up: U.S. nonfarm payrolls report; 1330 GMT
(Updates prices) SINGAPORE, Dec 7 (Reuters) - London copper was steady on Friday, and was set to close the week little changed, as traders focused on the progress in U.S. talks to avert a looming fiscal crisis while also waiting for a crucial jobs report from the world's largest economy. China's industrial production figures that will be released at the weekend and a U.S. rate meeting next week by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) are the other key events on the radar that will be scrutinised for signs of economic recovery and clues on future policy path. "China data of late has been looking relatively positive. The wild card is the FOMC. We think that they may talk about extending the QE (quantitative easing) program ... that could be a little positive for commodities in general," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodity strategist at ANZ in Singapore. "That said, fiscal cliff worries are likely to keep a lid on things for the most part. We are looking to see a small pull back by the end of the year," he added. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange traded at $8,011 a tonne by 0707 GMT, little changed from the previous session when it fell nearly one percent. Copper has rallied more than five percent since mid-November and touched its highest in more than six weeks at $8,095.75 a tonne hit on Wednesday. The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed nearly flat at 57,450 yuan ($9,200) a tonne. With little to show after a month of posturing, the White House and Republicans in Congress dropped hints on Thursday that they had resumed low-level private talks on breaking the stalemate over the "fiscal cliff" but refused to divulge details. Traders hope Washington will eventually avert some $600 billion of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to start in January that threaten to tip the economy back into recession, but they are turning risk-averse as the deadline draws closer with no agreement in sight. The spotlight is now on non-farm payrolls data that is expected to show U.S. job growth slowed sharply in November as superstorm Sandy disrupted economic activity, making it hard get a clear picture of a labor market. Copper prices may get a boost if data from top consumer China reinforces the belief that growth is reviving in the world's second largest economy. China's annual growth in factory output, investment and retail sales may have gained pace in November on recent pro-growth policies, a Reuters poll showed. Curbing metals' upside, the euro languished at one-week lows against the greenback on Friday, having suffered a major setback after the European Central Bank painted a bleak outlook for the euro zone and discussed cutting interest rates.
TERM DEALS Traders were busy putting together term shipment deals for 2013, with Chinese smelters and miners likely to forge agreements of $70 dollars per tonne and 7 cents per pound for treatment and refining charges, Macquarie said in a note. China's smelters received term 2012 TC/RC at $60 and 6 cents from BHP for Escondida concentrates and $63.5 and 6.35 cents from Freeport, both seen as benchmarks in Asia. Global miners pay TC/RC to smelters to convert concentrate into refined metal and the charges are deducted from the sale price based on LME copper prices. Higher charges are typically seen when concentrate supply rises. "The actual settlement for the benchmark contract for 2013 will be somewhere around the ... spot market, implying a small increase of global copper mine supply next year and still lower level of concentrates inventory at Chinese smelters," it said. Market talk that Peru's Antamina, one of the world's biggest copper-zinc mines, was suffering from production problems was not completely accurate, a mine spokesman said. "We do not have a problem with the sag mill. We have experienced a problem with one of our ball mills. We have all the parts required for the repair on site and there has been no impact on production and we don't expect any major impact on production," Alfonso Simpson, commercial manager of Antamina told Reuters by phone.
Base metals prices at 0707 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8011.00 11.00 +0.14 5.41 SHFE CU FUT MAR3 57450 50 +0.09 3.78 HG COPPER MAR3 365.10 0.65 +0.18 6.26 #DIV/0! SHFE AL FUT MAR3 15425 05 +0.03 -2.65 LME Zinc 2025.00 -5.00 -0.25 9.76 SHFE ZN FUT MAR3 15440 80 +0.52 4.36 LME Nickel 17172.00 -3.00 -0.02 -8.22 LME Lead 2207.00 -7.00 -0.32 8.45 SHFE PB FUT 15245.00 -65.00 -0.42 -0.26 LME Tin 21760.00 -165.00 -0.75 13.33 LME/Shanghai arb^ 1024
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ($1 = 6.2282 Chinese yuan)
(Additional reporting by Mitra Taj in Peru.; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Miral Fahmy)