METALS-Copper slips with oil, but brighter China data lends support
* Improving China data underpins industrial metals
* Market constrained by upcoming Fed tapering decision
(Adds China data, updates prices) SINGAPORE, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Copper edged down on Tuesday as easing oil prices eroded support for industrial metals, but both oil and metals cut losses after China factory figures surpassed expectations and provided more ammunition to the case its economy has bottomed. The metal has risen more than 8 percent since touching three-year lows in June on mounting evidence that a slowdown in number one metals consumer China may be bottoming out. China's annual industrial output rose 10.4 percent in August, beating market expectations, while retail sales rose 13.4 percent, official data showed on Tuesday. Brent crude futures rose off session lows on Tuesday after upbeat Chinese data strengthened the outlook for demand from the world's No. 2 oil consumer, having been dented as a military strike on Syria looked less likely. Lower oil prices reduce metals input costs and also prices. "We have a seen a stream of positive data out of China including strong export data on Sunday but until we see signs of a significant turnaround and a decision on U.S. tapering that will continue to weigh on industrial metals," said Tim Radford of Sydney-based advisor Rivkin. Vehicle sales in China rose 10.3 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), pointing to a recovery in the world's biggest automobile market. Adding to the positive sentiment were China's trade data, which showed exports rose more than expected in August, and muted inflation data. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged down 0.31 percent to $7,174 a tonne by 0715 GMT. The most-traded December copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 0.52 percent to close at 51,990 yuan ($8,500) a tonne. Radford added that large businesses were likely to hold off big decisions until the United States makes clear the scale of its stimulus tapering program later this month, suggesting metals prices were likely to stay constrained until then. Disappointing U.S jobs data last week eased expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would begin paring back its stimulus programme. Loose monetary policy adopted by central banks in the last few years has drawn investors to commodities as an alternative to interest-bearing assets. U.S. Federal Reserve officials will meet Sept 17-18. In other metals, tin prices eased from 5-1/2-month peaks of $23,126 a tonne reached on Monday, trading at $22,790. Prices have been supported by new trading restrictions in top exporter Indonesia that have curbed shipments.
Three month LME copper Most active ShFE copper Three month LME aluminium Most active ShFE aluminium Three month LME zinc Most active ShFE zinc Three month LME lead Most active ShFE lead Three month LME nickel Three month LME tin ($1 = 6.1210 Chinese yuan)
(Editing by Michael Urquhart and Muralikumar Anantharaman)