METALS-Copper hits five-month top fuelled by technical momentum

(Adds comment, detail, updates prices) SYDNEY/MELBOURNE July 25 (Reuters) - London copper struck its highest level since mid February on Tuesday after a unexpected strength in China's economy and a weaker dollar fanned upside technical momentum. Sentiment towards copper from the physical market has picked up as fabricators in China have replenished their inventories, Citi said in a report. "Bonded warehouse premiums returned to $72/t, the highest in eight months, and SHFE inventories also saw healthy draws. That said, we believe there is more inventory clearing work to be completed before imports could pick up sustainably." Lending support, the dollar is near 13-month lows, leaving dollar-denominated commodities such as copper cheaper for holders of other currencies.


* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange jumped by 1.2 percent to $6,097 a tonne by 0249 GMT, after a 0.4 percent gain in the previous session, having forged a new top at $6,100.50 a tonne the highest since Feb. 20.

* CHART MOMENTUM: Three traders said that copper's close above the $6,000 mark last week has attracted some momentum buying, while its push above Monday's peak in early Asian trade attracted fresh stop loss buys. None of the traders viewed gains as sustainable in the short-term given ample supply.

* SHANGHAI COPPER: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 1.2 percent to 48,470 yuan ($7,181) a tonne.

* ANTOFAGASTA: Copper miner Antofagasta has signed a wage deal with workers at its Zaldivar deposit in Chile, the company and the union said on Monday, averting threatened labor action.

* SUPPLY: Disruptions to copper shipments from Canada and Chile have undermined expectations for rising global copper supplies in the second half of the year, cutting the fees that smelters charge miners to process metal.

* CHINA IMPORTS: Data on Monday showed imports of copper fell 11 percent in June year-on-year to 1,444 tonnes.

* INDONESIA STRIKE: An estimated 5,000 workers at the giant Grasberg copper mine operated by Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Indonesian unit will extend their strike for a fourth month in a dispute over layoffs and employment terms.

* NICKEL: ShFe nickel was up more than 2.5 percent, while LME nickel rallied 0.7 percent to its highest in more than three months.

* MARKETS: The U.S. dollar rose from its lowest in more than a year and U.S. Treasury yields climbed on Monday as investors braced for news from this week's U.S. central bank meeting and possible hints on when the next interest rate hike is coming.

* COMING UP: U.S. Home price index May at 1300 GMT.

0302 GMT

Three month LME copper 6092.5 Most active ShFE copper 48440 Three month LME aluminium 1920.5 Most active ShFE aluminium 14560 Three month LME zinc 2803 Most active ShFE zinc 23140 Three month LME lead 2271 Most active ShFE lead 17525 Three month LME nickel 9840 Most active ShFE nickel 80650 Three month LME tin 20190 Most active ShFE tin 146770 LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 452.22 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -493.29 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 641.23 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -956.27 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2699.46

($1 = 6.7498 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan and Melanie Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin)