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METALS-Copper holds gains on the back of strong China GDP

(Updates prices)

SYDNEY, July 18 (Reuters) - Copper prices held firm on Tuesday, maintaining gains made in the wake of strong Chinese economic data that boosted the outlook for metals demand.

China's economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 6.9 percent in the second quarter, setting the country on course to comfortably meet its 2017 growth target, data released on Monday showed.

"Sentiment continues to improve in the industrial metals complex after strong economic data from China yesterday," ANZ said in a note.

"This data appeared to boost confidence in the country's ability to weather the regulatory reforms that are appearing to tighten monetary conditions in China."

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had fallen 0.1 percent to $5,990 a tonne by 0700 GMT, largely maintaining gains posted in the previous London session, when prices hit 4-1/2-month highs.

* SHFE COPPER: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.36 percent to 47,690 yuan ($7,058) a tonne.

* DOLLAR DOWN: The U.S. dollar extended losses as passage of a U.S. healthcare bill grew doubtful, and as investors bet the Federal Reserve would be more cautious about raising interest rates.

* U.S. TRADE: The United States has launched the first salvo in the renegotiation of the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying its top priority for the talks was shrinking the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico.

* LME METALS: LME Aluminium slipped 0.8 percent to $1,904 a tonne, zinc dropped 0.7 percent to $2,797 a tonne , while lead was flat at $2,296.50 a tonne.

* SHFE METALS: ShFE aluminium lost 0.80 percent, zinc eased 0.30 percent, while lead was down 0.76 percent.

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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

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 6.7572 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Joseph Radford)