×

METALS-Strong Chinese data helps copper prices rise to 4-1/2-month peak

* LME/ShFE arb: http://tmsnrt.rs/2oQ5nm2

* Premium for cash zinc sees metal go back on warrant

* China's aluminum output at record high in June (Adds official prices)

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - Copper prices hit 4-1/2-month highs on Monday as a combination of better than expected economic data from top consumer China and a weak dollar helped reinforce expectations of strong demand.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange traded up 1 percent at $5,984.5 a tonne in official rings. Earlier the price touched $5,992.50, its highest level since March 2.

"There's a bid across the complex on the Chinese data," said Macquarie analyst Vivienne Lloyd. "This is the second time this month it's pressing against $6,000. If it doesn't crack this time, copper could start heading lower again."

CHINA DATA: China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the second quarter on a year ago, faster than expected. Industrial production rose 7.6 percent in June from a year earlier, above the 6.5 percent expected and the fastest in three months.

CHINA PROSPECTS: "The manufacturing sector is heavily dominated by the private sector, which accounted for over 70 percent of Chinas economic output," HSBC analysts said in a note. "The recovery of the private sector is the most notable and positive development since last year, and bodes well for both growth and debt sustainability."

DEMAND: China accounts for nearly half of global copper consumption estimated at around 23 million tonnes this year.

DOLLAR: The U.S. currency hit a 10-month low against a basket of currencies, making dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies and potentially boosting demand.

TECHNICALS: Copper support around $5,870, a Fibonacci level. A sustained break of strong resistance at $6,000 could trigger further buying towards $6,030, the March high. "There isn't much volume, $6,000 could be difficult," a trader said.

ZINC SPREAD: A small premium for cash zinc over the three-month <CMZN0-3> has seen metal put back on warrant in LME registered warehouses. Metal available to the market is up at 37 percent from 25 percent last week.

CHINESE ALUMINIUM: Aluminium prices were capped by Chinese production, which jumped 7.4 percent year-on-year to 2.93 million tonnes in June, exceeding December's record of 2.89 million tonnes. China accounts for more than 50 percent of global aluminum supplies, estimated to be around 60 million tonnes.

CHINA CRACKDOWN: Expectations of lower aluminum supplies from top producer China over the coming months, due to shutdowns of illegal capacity, are expected to buoy prices. Capacity closures to improve air quality are also expected to help.

PRICES: Aluminium slipped 0.1 percent to $1,924.5 a tonne, zinc gained 1.3 percent to $2,822, lead rose 0.4 percent to $2,326, tin climbed 0.8 percent to $19,970 and nickel added 0.6 percent to $9,640.

(Editing by Edmund Blair, Greg Mahlich)