METALS-Copper steady ahead of China growth data
SINGAPORE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - London copper was steady on Friday, on track to close the week little changed, with optimism over an improving U.S. economic landscape tempered by middling global demand growth, while traders awaited a slew of data from top consumer China.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange traded little changed at $8,046.50 a tonne, down 0.09 percent from the previous session when it closed up more than 1 percent. Copper prices have fallen on four of the last five sessions, hitting a 2013 low of $7,920 a tonne on Wednesday.
* Copper's upside run has sputtered since hitting 2-1/2 month highs in early January, with investors struggling to find fresh reasons to buy the metal amid swelling mine supply and as China's commodity bull run fades.
* The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rallied 0.74 percent to 58,170 yuan ($9,400) a tonne, playing catch-up with overnight gains in London.
* China's economy rebounded towards 8 percent growth in the final quarter of 2012 after seven straight quarters of slowdown, data on Friday should confirm, but an uncertain global outlook means Beijing may need to keep tweaking policy to support growth.
* Besides GDP, economic reports due from China on Friday include on December industrial output, retail sales and house prices.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid hit a five-year low last week and residential construction surged in December, the latest signs that the U.S. economic recovery remains on track.
* The Bank of Japan will next week mull scrapping its 0.1 percent floor on short-term interest rates and pledging to buy assets open-endedly until 2 percent inflation is foreseen, sources familiar with the central bank's thinking said.
* Rio Tinto sacked chief executive Tom Albanese on Thursday and revealed a $14 billion writedown almost entirely on the value of his two most significant acquisitions, the Alcan aluminium group and Mozambican coal.
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* Asian shares edged higher on Friday, tracking overnight gains in global equities markets after firm U.S. data signalled strength in the world's largest economy, lifting sentiment ahead of a batch of economic indicators from China later in the day.
* The yen languished at two-and-a-half year lows against the dollar on Friday following a dramatic selloff as markets positioned for the Bank of Japan to take bold policy action to tackle deflation. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0200 China GDP Q4 0200 China Industrial output Dec 0200 China Retail sales Dec 0200 China Urban investment Dec 0900 Italy Industrial orders Nov 1455 U.S. Reuters/UMich consumer sentiment
Base metals prices at 0104 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8046.50 -7.50 -0.09 1.48 SHFE CU FUT APR3 58170 430 +0.74 0.85 HG COPPER MAR3 365.85 -0.35 -0.10 0.16 LME Alum 2049.75 1.25 +0.06 -1.03 SHFE AL FUT APR3 15265 25 +0.16 -0.52 LME Zinc 2009.00 -1.00 -0.05 -2.64 SHFE ZN FUT APR3 15385 -160 -1.03 -1.03 LME Nickel 17600.00 0.00 +0.00 2.59 LME Lead 2285.00 0.00 +0.00 -2.35 SHFE PB FUT 15350.00 120.00 +0.79 0.66 LME Tin 24920.00 0.00 +0.00 6.50 LME/Shanghai arb^ 348
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ($1 = 6.2160 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)