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METALS-London copper hovers near two-year peak after China data

(Adds comment, detail, and updates prices) MELBOURNE, July 31 (Reuters) - London copper rallied to within a whisker of its highest in 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 slightly in July 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 the leadership meeting in October.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was up 0.8 percent at $6,378 a tonne, by 0454 GMT, after ending flat on Friday. Prices earlier matched last week's peak since May 2015 at $6,400 a tonne.

* SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper climbed 0.8 percent to 50,430 yuan ($7,497) a tonne.

* SHFE NICKEL: SHFE nickel rallied 1.8 percent as stainless steel makers restock, and amid ongoing concerns about supply from the Philippines, which has been cracking down on the mining sector.

* 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.

* 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.

* CHINA PPP: China's public-private partnership (PPP) project construction has entered the "fast lane" and will become a unified, standardized, transparent market, a government research office said.

* 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.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares dipped on Monday following a lackluster end to last week globally on some earnings disappointments, while the dollar edged up but remained capped by U.S. polit

BASE METALS PRICES 0431 GMT Three month LME copper 6377.5 Most active ShFE copper 50430 Three month LME aluminum 1915 Most active ShFE aluminum 14335 Three month LME zinc 2804.5 Most active ShFE zinc 23240 Three month LME lead 2334 Most active ShFE lead 18465 Three month LME nickel 10325 Most active ShFE nickel 83660 Three month LME tin 20750 Most active ShFE tin 149950

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 394.15 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -603.3 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 806.01 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -571.51 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1315.18

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 Most active ShFE nickel Three month LME tin Most active ShFE tin

ARBS

($1 = 6.7269 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)