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METALS-Copper, zinc gain on hopes for Chinese growth

* LME/ShFE arb: http://bit.ly/2wZSAEz (Adds comments, updates prices, changes dateline from MELBOURNE)

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Copper and zinc rose on Thursday as speculators regarded prices as good value after recent losses amid hopes of steady economic growth in top metals consumer China.

"With long liquidation having been a recent theme across the base complex, some good Far Eastern buying and borrowing has been evident in the last 24 hours particularly on copper and nickel," Alastair Munro at broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

Some analysts warned, however, that demand in China was weak.

"The demand picture for copper and most base metals is not that good. A lot of sentiment around China is quite bullish at the moment and I don't think that's really justified from what we see in terms of the industrial side of the economy," said Dan Smith, head of commodities research at Oxford Economics.

"Everyone's looking at the previous macro data, which is all very robust, but don't think that's really a true indication of where we are now."

* COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had risen 0.5 percent to $6,470 a tonne by 1025 GMT. Copper has given up 7 percent since touching a peak of $6,970 on Sept. 5 as longs liquidated their positions.

"We do think the current weakness of copper represents a nice opportunity to go long," Managing Director Gianclaudio Torlizzi of Italy-based commodity consultancy T-Commodity told the Reuters Global Base Metals Forum.

"Supply is not as loose as the general consensus thinks. A break above $6,520 will confirm the move."

* ZINC: LME benchmark zinc gained 0.9 percent to $3,131.50, boosted by low inventory levels and the presence of a large position.

* ZINC DOMINANT POSITION: One party holds a dominant position in zinc between 50-80 percent of available warrants, and more than 90 percent of warrants and cash positions. <0LME-WHC> <0#LME-WHL>

* ZINC SPREADS: The premium of cash zinc to the three months future has eased to $44.50 from $66 on Monday, but was still high - indicating shortages of near-term metal - with the year's peak until this month at $11.

* NICKEL: LME nickel rose 0.4 percent to $10,285.

* NICKEL PREMIUMS: Premiums for metal in China bonded zones surged another $55 to $350, and are now up $110 in two days, suggesting a party is urgently seeking metal. <NI-BMPBW-SHMET>

(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Mark Potter)