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METALS-London copper hits 3-yr high as miners rally on strong results

(Updates prices) MELBOURNE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - London copper rose to a fresh three-year high on Tuesday after a string of results from mining companies buoyed sentiment towards the sector, which also found wider support from robust gains in steel material prices in China. "The wider sector continues to benefit from an increasingly positive sentiment as economic growth betters expectations amid a (broadly) weaker USD," said ANZ in a report. The dollar inched higher against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, with traders focusing on the annual central banking conference in Jackson Hole this week for insights into the outlook for monetary policy.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LONDON COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper struck $6,642.50 a tonne, the highest since Nov 2014, before trading at $6,622 a tonne by 0712 GMT, a gain of 0.6 percent. It gained 1.5 percent in the previous session.

* SHANGHAI COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper rallied 1.9 percent to 52,190 yuan ($7,841) having struck its strongest since March 2013 at 52,210 yuan.

* OTHER METALS: ShFE nickel finished up 2.9 percent, while zinc and lead trimmed early losses to end flat and 1.4 percent higher, respectively.

* ANTOFAGASTA: Chilean miner Antofagasta raised its dividend as a rally in copper price lifted its first-half earnings, the company said on Tuesday, allowing it to reiterate its annual target.

* BHP: BHP Billiton BHP.AX, the world's largest miner, reported a surge in underlying full-year profits on Tuesday and said it would exit its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas business, pleasing disgruntled shareholders who had called for a sale.

* CHINA STEEL: China's steel sector offered some support, with rebar up 0.5 percent and Dalian iron ore ending 4.2 percent higher.

* PRICE OUTLOOK: "Maybe we have seen the highs of this year, prices could consolidate a bit towards Q4," said one trader in Singapore. "I think medium term is still bullish on commodities (but) I am not too bullish for the short term. (Still), not a good time to short, even though looks high now."

* CHINA DEBT: Rising corporate profits are providing Chinese policymakers with room to do more to tackle the country's growing debt problems without inflicting major damage on the economy.

* SHANGHAI FEES: The ShFE said on Monday it would adjust transaction fees for zinc futures for delivery in October and November and would limit the volumes non-members could trade each day from Aug. 23.

* MINMETALS: China Minmetals Corp (CHMIN.UL) plans to invest 10 billion yuan ($1.50 billion) to upgrade its copper, lead and zinc smelting facilities Hunan province, a spokesman confirmed on Monday, after a recent rebuke from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).

* COMING UP: U.S. Home prices (FHFA) for Jun at 1300 GMT 3/8 PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0533 GMT Three month LME copper 6592 Most active ShFE copper 51750 Three month LME aluminum 2075.5 Most active ShFE aluminum 16375 Three month LME zinc 3122 Most active ShFE zinc 26180 Three month LME lead 2343.5 Most active ShFE lead 19290 Three month LME nickel 11335 Most active ShFE nickel 91890 Three month LME tin 20435 Most active ShFE tin 144170

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 575.76 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 327.08 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 1283.3 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 352.61 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1537.92

($1 = 6.6579 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin and Vyas Mohan)