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METALS-London copper cracks new two-year peak after China data

(Adds detail, updates prices) MELBOURNE, July 31 (Reuters) - London copper rallied to its highest since more than two years on Monday after manufacturing data from top user China confirmed growth tempered slightly but stayed firm in July. Growth in China's manufacturing sector cooled as foreign demand for Chinese goods slackened, but a government-led infrastructure push kept construction humming and helped prop up the world's second-largest economy. "It's still a strong figure," said Amy Li of the National Australia bank in Melbourne, adding that policy makers were likely to ensure smooth sailing for China's economy ahead of a leadership meeting in October.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was up 1.3 percent at $6,408 a tonne, by 0701 GMT, after ending flat on Friday. Prices earlier hit $6,430 a tonne, the highest since May 2015.

* SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper climbed 1.4 percent to 50,710 yuan ($7,543) a tonne, its highest since mid-February.

* SHFE NICKEL: SHFE nickel rallied 1 percent as stainless steel makers restock, and amid ongoing concerns about supply from the Philippines, which has been cracking down on the mining sector. LME zinc rallied 1.4 percent, while LME nickel was up 0.7 percent and targeting a monthly advance of nearly 9 percent amid broad gains across the steel sector.

* PHILIPPINES: The Philippines' environment minister Roy Cimatu said at a news conference on Monday he would not lift a ban on open-pit mining imposed in April, and that an inter-agency mining council would review how mining companies in the Philippines are taxed.

* U.S. DOLLAR: The dollar struggled on Monday, wallowing near a 2-1/2-year low against the euro, weighed down by U.S. political uncertainty and uninspiring U.S. data that added to doubts about whether there will be another Federal Reserve rate hike this year.

* ANTOFAGASTA Chilean mining company Antofagasta could green-light a $1.1 billion revamp of its Los Pelambres copper mine in the first months of 2018, as rising copper prices buoy spirits in the sector, the company's CEO told Reuters on Friday.

* COPPER SPECULATORS: Hedge funds and money managers increased their net long position in COMEX copper in the week to July 25, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. Managed net long positions are at the highest since April.

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BASE METALS PRICES 0710 GMT Three month LME copper 6411 Most active ShFE copper 50700 Three month LME aluminum 1919.5 Most active ShFE 14545

aluminum

Three month LME zinc 2818 Most active ShFE zinc 23355 Three month LME lead 2341 Most active ShFE lead 18400 Three month LME nickel 10275 Most active ShFE nickel 82990 Three month LME tin 20825 Most active ShFE tin 149910

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 473.8 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -410.36 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 841.06 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -657.06 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1901.07

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Biju Dwarakanath)