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METALS-Aluminum rises on warehouse court case, copper slips on port probe

* Standard Chartered suspends some metals financing-sources

* Investors expect LME warehouse court case to drag on

* Shanghai premiums fall $10 to $95-$115 -Shmet

* Coming up: ECB decision at 1145 GMT, news conference 1230 GMT

(Adds details, quotes; previous SYDNEY)

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) - Aluminum rose on Thursday as investors bet that material tied up in warehouse backlogs would remain off the market due to extended legal wrangling.

Copper dipped after a bank suspended some metals financing due to a Chinese port investigation, prompting worries the probe may lead to liquidation of finance deals.

Other metals were slightly firmer ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later on Thursday that is expected to result in a rate cut.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) said on Wednesday it decided to appeal against a court ruling that halted a reform aimed at cutting backlogs at its global warehouse network. The longest queues are in aluminum of up to two years.

The appeal hearing will not be held until late July and it was unclear how soon a ruling would be released, delaying a resolution that could result in outflows of aluminum from warehouses back to the market.

"People saw the headline and saw the appeal is not tomorrow, so how long will this (process) take? That's why the market has held up," said analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov at VTB Capital.

Three-month aluminum on the LME was the biggest mover, rising 0.7 percent to $1,848 a tonne by 1052 GMT.

Copper dipped amid uncertainty about the impact of an investigation into metal financing at Qingdao port, China's third-largest, which has disrupted some shipments.

Standard Chartered has suspended new metal financing to some customers in China, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Other global trading houses and banks were also scrambling to check on their exposure to the probe as concerns grow that a crackdown into commodity financing could hit trade in the world's top metals buyer.

"It (Qingdao) likely will have some near term influence - it signals further crackdowns in inventory finance and signals that these trades are unlikely to continue in their current form, which may in the short term disrupt market dynamics but in the longer term is a good thing," said analyst Joel Crane at Morgan Stanley in Melbourne.

Three-month LME copper edged down 0.2 percent to $6,772 a tonne, after falling 1.2 percent in the previous session to its lowest in three weeks at $6,760 a tonne.

The uncertainty was also reflected in premiums for bonded stock in Shanghai, which dropped $10 to $95-$115, after falling $5 on Wednesday, according to Shanghai price provider Shmet. (www.shmet.com)

The LME losses were modest due to recent robust U.S. economic data and comments from China suggesting it had warded off a slowdown in growth.

"Demand globally is looking pretty good," Crane said. "Obviously in China growth is lower than it was before but there is still growth. The problem with commodities is that they are all oversupplied, but that won't last forever."

China has stepped up efforts to stop quarterly economic growth falling towards 7 percent and thinks it has been successful for now after preliminary signs that a rapid slowdown has been arrested, sources involved in policy discussions said.

Other metals were a touch firmer ahead of an ECB meeting that is poised to impose negative interest rates on overnight depositors, seeking to cajole banks into lending instead and to prevent the euro zone falling into Japan-like deflation.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Three month LME tin

(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney; editing by Susan Thomas)

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