METALS-Copper inches up on solid U.S., China factory data
* ShFE copper hits highest since Oct. as sentiment improves
* Rising China copper production to aid exports - Credit Suisse
* Coming Up; Germany Ifo business climate at 0900 GMT
(Adds analyst, trader comment, updates prices) SINGAPORE, Jan 25 (Reuters) - London copper edged higher on Friday after solid economic data from China and the United States boosted faith in a global recovery, but prices were set to close the week little changed, with consumer buying slow ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. Manufacturing in top metals consumer China as well as the United States grew this month at the fastest pace in about two years, while data suggesting German growth picked up boosted hopes for a swifter euro zone recovery. China is the world's top consumer of copper, accounting for around 40 percent of refined demand. "Data is improving in Europe and the U.S. and most importantly also from China - such as we saw in the steady improvement in the HSBC flash PMI yesterday," said strategist Nick Trevethan of ANZ in Singapore. "We should see a little bit of a pick up in quarter two after the Chinese New Year, and we should start to see acceleration in demand in the second half of the year -- but expect range trading in the next three weeks before then. China's markets will be closed from Feb. 11 to Feb 15 for the Lunar New Year. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose the previous session almost unchanged. Copper has been caught in a band of $7,920-$8,250 a tonne so far this year, after an early January rally to 2-1/2 month highs fizzled out with its next target around $8,154, an 11-day high reached earlier this week. The most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.44 percent to 58,890 yuan ($9,500) a tonne. It earlier hit its highest since Oct. 22 at 58,970 yuan. Growth in China's giant factory sector accelerated to a two-year high in January, a preliminary private survey showed, as manufacturers received more local and foreign orders in an encouraging sign for the country's economic rebound.
"With Chinese consumers happy to run down high stockpiles and uncertainty remaining ahead of the New Year holiday, the market may be range-bound for some weeks to come," said analyst Nic Brown of Natixis in a research note.
MARKETS NEWS China's copper industry is undergoing a structural shift as a greater portion of refined copper demand is met by domestic refineries, which will eat into imports of refined metal in favour of raw materials imports including ore, said Credit Suisse analyst Ivan Szpakowski in a research note. China's smelters are adding an aggressive 2.5 million tonnes of capacity to 2014 from 2012 with cash fuelled by rising processing fees miners pay them and growing mine supply, the bank said. China produced a record 6.06 million tonnes of refined copper in 2012. Higher Chinese output and a softening in China's export regulation last year helped boost refined copper exports to 25,000 tonnes in December with the potential for further exports to global markets this year, it added. PRICES
Base metals prices at 0312 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8120.00 24.50 +0.30 2.41 SHFE CU FUT MAY3 58890 260 +0.44 2.10 HG COPPER MAR3 369.05 1.40 +0.38 1.04 LME Alum 2079.00 3.00 +0.14 0.39 SHFE AL FUT APR3 15235 05 +0.03 -0.72 LME Zinc 2093.00 4.00 +0.19 1.43 SHFE ZN FUT APR3 15575 30 +0.19 0.19 LME Nickel 17425.00 35.00 +0.20 1.57 LME Lead 2392.00 -11.00 -0.46 2.22 SHFE PB FUT 15420.00 90.00 +0.59 1.11 LME Tin 24625.00 0.00 +0.00 5.24 LME/Shanghai arb^ 414
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
($1 = 6.2181 Chinese yuan)
($1 = 6.2181 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and Miral Fahmy)