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METALS-Copper leads most metals up on China data expectations

SYDNEY, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Base metals opened mostly firmer on Tuesday, with London copper hitting a fresh three-year high on expectations of further signs of a healthy economic outlook for China.

Nickel also found support just shy of Monday's 14-month peak on China's robust industrial outlook, aided by supply side constraints. China is the world's top user of both copper and nickel.

Over the next few weeks a flurry of data for August is expected to back market expectations for growth to taper off only modestly from a solid first half, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LONDON COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added 0.3 percent to $6,932 a tonne by 0100 GMT, the highest since September 2014, according to Reuters data.

SHANGHAI COPPER: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.4 percent to 53,220 yuan ($8,153.95) a tonne, just off Monday's 53-month high.

* NICKEL: A rally in Chinese steel pushed stainless steel ingredient nickel to a peak of $12,300. On Monday, the contract reached $13,380, its highest since June 2015. ShFE nickel was up 0.78 percent to 96,720 yuan a tonne.

* MANUFACTURING: Factories across Asia and Europe cranked up production last month as global demand remained strong, confounding expectations growth may have peaked. (Full Story)

* CHINA STEEL: Chinese rebar futures were steady after rising much as 5 percent on Monday to the highest since February 2013.

* ALUMINIUM DIVIDES: Analysts at Wood Mackenzie said many market observers were skeptical about China's ability to deal with aluminum overcapacity. "But cuts at Weiqiao, the world's largest smelter, shows China's determination to deliver supply-side reforms," it said in a report.

* OVERBOUGHT: Analysts at Commerzbank said copper and other industrial metals were overbought: "Prices have become largely detached from the fundamental data ... the potential for and possible extent of a price correction are increasing every week."

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MARKETS NEWS

* U.S. crude oil prices edged higher on Monday while gasoline prices slumped to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels, as oil refineries and pipelines in the U.S. Gulf Coast slowly resumed activity.

* The U.S. dollar steadied on Tuesday after investors assessed tensions in the Korean Peninsula, with market focus turning to U.S. monetary and fiscal policies. It was quoted around 109.68 yen in early trade on Tuesday.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

Australia Balance of payments data Q2 0145 China Caixin/Markit services PMI Aug 0750 France IHS Markit Final Composite PMI Aug 0750 France IHS Markit Final Services PMI Aug 0755 Germany IHS Markit Final Composite PMI Aug 0755 Germany IHS Markit Final Services PMI Aug 0800 Euro Zone IHS Markit Final Composite PMI Aug 0800 Euro Zone IHS Markit Final Services PMI Aug 0830 U.K. IHS Markit Services PMI Aug 0900 Euro Zone Retail sales Jul 1400 U.S. Factory orders Jul 1400 U.S. Durables orders (revised) Jul

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 = 6.5269 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin)