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METALS-Copper holds near 4-month top, demand hopes underpin prices

Naveen Thukral
Monday, 30 Dec 2013 | 2:29 AM ET

* Copper little changed after four-session rally

* Hopes of recovery in Chinese demand supports

(Updates prices)

SINGAPORE, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Copper was little changed on Monday, trading around its highest since mid-August as signs of global economic recovery and hopes of improving Chinese demand supported prices.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.02 percent at $7,383.25 a tonne by 0715 GMT. Copper jumped to $7,415 a tonne on Friday, its highest since August 16.

The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.1 percent to 52,340 yuan a tonne.

"There is some profit-taking today but the recovery is on people's minds," said Barclays analyst Sijin Cheng in Singapore.

"The Fed is tapering, it is an indication that the economy is on more solid footing and China has also been alleviating some of the fears about the credit crunch."

China's economic growth is likely to come in at 7.6 percent this year, according to a cabinet report cited by the official Xinhua news agency, just above the government's target of 7.5 percent and slightly below last year's 7.7 percent.

The country's industrial output is likely to grow by about 9.8 percent in 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Friday.

Copper was also garnering support from a lack of readily available metal due to falling exchange stocks.

"For some metals, the supply has been little bit tighter than what people had anticipated," said Cheng.

LME data showed copper stocks in exchange-registered warehouses dropped to their lowest since January at 370,950 tonnes. <0#MCUSTX-LOC-GRD>

Still, ample copper concentrate seen flowing into the market next year will eventually feed into more stocks of refined copper, swelling supply and overhanging prices.

Indonesia will provide exemptions to its 2014 mineral export ban for firms that process ore domestically, the country's mining minister said on Friday, providing some potential relief for mining giants Freeport and Newmont.

PRICES

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

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Richard Pullin)