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METALS-China lead futures gain on signs of supply pinch

SYDNEY, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Chinese lead futures advanced on Thursday, rising in step with growing signs of supply constraints caused by Beijing's crackdown on industrial pollution and falling stockpiles.

However, copper and nickel futures were under pressure from concerns excess that supplies are mounting.

Hefty supply of both metals was outweighing expectations that a flurry of data over the next few weeks will underscore a strong second-half economic outlook for China.

FUNDAMENTALS

* SHFE LEAD: The most-traded lead contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose more than 2 percent shortly after the open to 19,905 yuan ($3,043.58) a tonne, the highest price in more than three weeks. The contract rose 3 percent on Wednesday, leading gainers on the ShFE. It has risen more than 25 percent since the lowest close of 2017 on May 19.

* DEMAND: Lead demand in China, the world's largest user, comes chiefly from battery makers for cars and other vehicles. However, lead output has declined because of environmental probes that have shut down smelters operating illegally.

* LEAD STOCKS DOWN: Lead stockpiles in China published by the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) were 29,850 tonnes on Sept. 8 and have plunged more than 64 percent from a three-year high of 83,622 tonnes on May 19.

* LME LEAD: Three-month lead on the London Metal Exchange showed a modest 0.8 percent rise to $2,308 a tonne by 0140 GMT, reversing losses from the previous session.

* SHFE COPPER: lost 1.2 percent, while LME three-month copper was up a modest 1.5 percent to $6,563.50 a tonne, just short of neutralising overnight losses.

* STOCKS: Copper stocks in LME approved warehouses are up 38,150 tonnes to 246,575 tonnes since last week.

* NICKEL: ShFE nickel lost 2 percent. Three-month LME nickel was up nearly 1 percent to $11,440 a tonne after dropping 5.2 percent overnight on talk of higher supplies from Indonesia, a top exporter to China.

* CHINA DATA: After surprising pretty much everyone with solid growth in the first half, China's economy has continued to motor along nicely with a flurry of data for August expected to show momentum will largely hold up through to the end of the year despite tighter policy.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks edged down on Thursday, consolidating after touching their highest in a decade, while the dollar held steady before the U.S. inflation report for August is published.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0200 China Industrial output Aug 0200 China Retail sales Aug 0200 China Urban investment Aug

1100 Bank of England announces interest rate decision

1230 U.S. Consumer prices Aug 1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

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 = 6.5400 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin)