METALS-Copper edges up; eyes on US fiscal talks
* LME copper stocks rise to 10-month high
* US copper speculators raise net longs to highest since Aug 2011
* LME copper may fall to $7,757 - technicals
SINGAPORE, Dec 24 (Reuters) - London copper edged up on Monday, after posting its biggest weekly drop in more than six months, while uncertainty about the U.S. fiscal talks kept prices trapped in a tight range. Negotiations to avert $600 billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect in the new year dragged on with some U.S. lawmakers voicing concerns on Sunday that the country would go over "the fiscal cliff" in nine days and some Republicans charging that was President Barack Obama's goal.
But risk assets mostly held steady as markets opened for the last trading week of the year, as investors still held out hopes that the White House and Republican lawmakers will reach an agreement to prevent the world's top economy from slipping into another recession. "It is basically politicking between the two parties, and at the end of the day they will make a deal," said Zhu Bin, an analyst at Nanhua Futures in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. "But the uncertainty over the course of the negotiation has caused lack of confidence among investors." Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged up 0.3 percent to $7,854 a tonne by 0214 GMT, after losing nearly 3 percent in the previous week - its steepest weekly drop since early June. Prices had been moving in a $35 range in early Asian hours. Technical analysis suggested that LME copper could fall to $7,757 during the day as a weak rebound from last Thursday's low of $7,735 seems to have ended, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange also gained 0.3 percent, to 56,900 yuan ($9,100) a tonne.
LME copper stocks <0#MCUSTX-LOC> rose to 312,400 tonnes by Dec. 20, the highest level since mid-Feb, but had fallen nearly 16 percent from a year earlier. Speculators raised their net length in U.S. copper to 24,531 contracts in the week ended Dec. 18, the highest since August 2011, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
Base metals prices at 0214 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 7854.00 22.50 +0.29 3.34 SHFE CU FUT MAR3 56900 160 +0.28 2.78 HG COPPER MAR3 356.90 0.20 +0.06 3.87 LME Alum 2084.50 2.50 +0.12 3.19 SHFE AL FUT MAR3 15310 50 +0.33 -3.38 LME Zinc 2079.75 -2.25 -0.11 12.72 SHFE ZN FUT MAR3 15530 145 +0.94 4.97 LME Nickel 17405.00 55.00 +0.32 -6.97 LME Lead 2304.00 -3.00 -0.13 13.22 SHFE PB FUT 15310.00 30.00 +0.20 0.16 LME Tin 23250.00 25.00 +0.11 21.09 LME/Shanghai arb^ 357
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
($1 = 6.2286 Chinese yuan)
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)