METALS-Copper gains on growth optimism, further data eyed
* Fed meeting, U.S. GDP and job data in focus this week
* China's top think tank lifts '13 growth forecast to 8.4 pct
* Coming up: U.S. consumer confidence for Jan at 1500 GMT
(Updates prices; adds detail, quotes, previous SINGAPORE) LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Copper rose on Tuesday as optimism about an economic recovery gathered pace following recent encouraging U.S. data, but further gains were kept in check as caution prevailed ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting and more data due this week. Three month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose to $8,066 a tonne at 1003 GMT, up 0.4 percent from a close of $8,030 on Monday. Metals markets, along with other risky assets such as oil and equities, were boosted as data in the previous session showed a rise in a gauge of planned U.S. business spending in December, adding to a recent run of positive global economic data. Investors will be looking for further signs of a recovery in the pace of economic growth to be reflected in data this week, including the first estimate of U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday, and non-farm payrolls on Friday. Further signs of brightening U.S. growth prospects, however, could fuel speculation the Federal Reserve may consider pulling back on aggressive easing stimulus. The Fed ends a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. "The market is giving that impression (of confidence in the economic recovery) in the way that risky assets generally appear to be going up. But is that genuinely a reflection of economic expectations or is that as much a reflection of the amount of liquidity that is being put to work in the market?" said Nic Brown, head of commodity research at Natixis. "We may find out more by listening to the Fed. At their last meeting they talked about potentially slowing the rate of purchases within QE3. If we get any more talk like that it would be an interesting signal that the Fed thinks that there is more than enough liquidity in the system." Copper hit its highest level in more than two months at $8,256.50 earlier in January following a deal by U.S lawmakers to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax increases. But prices have since retreated on fears the U.S. Federal Reserve may rein in easing measures sooner than expected and caution ahead of upcoming U.S. debt ceiling negotiations. "We would have thought rising equity markets in China or settlement of the U.S. fiscal cliff would have been enough to get things going, but clearly the market is looking for some other form of inspiration," said RBC Capital in a note. "What form that inspiration will take is yet to be seen, so it looks as if the markets will dance in tune with the dollar until further notice," it added. In the currency market, the euro was steady against the dollar. A weak dollar makes commodities priced in the U.S. unit cheaper for holders of other currencies.
SUBDUED Also on the data calendar this week is China's official purchasing manager's index (PMI) and HSBC's final PMI for January, which are expected to show an uptick in activity in the world's No.2 economy. In a boost to the outlook for demand from the world's top consumer, China's top think tank lifted its economic growth forecast for 2013 to 8.4 percent from 8.2 percent, with faster expansion seen in the first half of the year.
Chinese buying has remained subdued ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. China's markets will be closed from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15. China accounts for 40 percent of refined copper consumption. In other metals, soldering metal tin rose to $24,575 a tonne from $24,400 on Monday, while zinc, used in galvanizing, climbed to $2,091.25 from $2,081 a tonne. Battery material lead rose to $2,392.75 from Monday's close of $2,378, aluminium was at $2,056 from $2,050 while stainless-steel ingredient nickel climbed to $17,674 from $17,625.
Metal Prices at 1003 GMT Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T
Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2012 Ytd Pct
COMEX Cu 367.65 2.45 +0.67 365.25 0.66 LME Alum 2055.25 5.25 +0.26 2073.00 -0.86 LME Cu 8066.00 16.00 +0.20 7931.00 1.70 LME Lead 2391.50 13.50 +0.57 2330.00 2.64 LME Nickel 17670.00 45.00 +0.26 17060.00 3.58 LME Tin 24520.00 120.00 +0.49 23400.00 4.79 LME Zinc 2090.50 9.50 +0.46 2080.00 0.50 SHFE Alu 15170.00 0.00 +0.00 15435.00 -1.72 SHFE Cu* 58610.00 200.00 +0.34 57690.00 1.59 SHFE Zin 15625.00 35.00 +0.22 15625.00 0.00
(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Singapore; Editing by Mike Nesbit)