(Adds comment, detail, updates prices) MELBOURNE, Oct 12 (Reuters) - London copper inched to its highest in more than a month on Thursday, underpinned by robust demand in China and a weaker U.S. dollar. The dollar index slipped to a two-week low in the wake of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting. A weaker greenback makes commodities priced in dollars more affordable for buyers paying with other currencies.
The International Monetary Fund this week underlined a rosier outlook for industrial metals use when it said a broad-based global economic upswing would likely be sustained this year and next.
* LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had climbed half a percent to $6,838.50 a tonne by 0639 GMT, holding modest gains from the previous session. Copper prices earlier hit their highest since Sept. 8 at $6,850 a tonne, and were edging towards a three-year top of $6,970 marked on Sept. 5.
* CHINA DEMAND: Solid demand in China has opened the 'arbitrage window' for copper imports, traders said. Premiums for copper held in China bonded zones have climbed by $9 this week to $74, the highest in more than two months. <CU-BMPBW-SHMET>
* SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper was up 2.1 percent at 53,310 yuan ($8,089) a tonne after earlier climbing as far as 53,340 yuan. That was near last month's 4-1/2-year high above 53,750 yuan.
* U.S. INTEREST RATES: Fed policymakers had a prolonged debate about the prospects of a pickup in inflation and slowing the path of future interest rate rises if it did not, according to the minutes of the U.S. central bank's last policy meeting.
* NICKEL: Shanghai nickel climbed 3 percent, while LME nickel rose 1.3 percent. "Nickel has continued to push higher since the Chinese market reopened after the Golden Week holidays," said ANZ in a report. "With nickel pig iron furnaces being targeted for shutdown over the upcoming winter, demand for refined nickel from the international market looks strong."
* LME LEAD: London lead prices fell by 0.9 percent on prospects of rising supply after a China smelter said it had restarted production. A Singapore-based trader also said that enquiries for lead had dried up after China's holiday.
* MMG: MMG Ltd, the international mining unit of state-owned China Minmetals Corp, has become China's preferred developer of overseas projects and is looking at acquisitions beyond its core strengths of copper and zinc, MMG's chief executive said.
* Investors are now turning their attention to China's leadership meeting next week.
COMING UP: Euro zone Industrial Output for Aug at 1000 GMT
BASE METALS PRICES 0553 GMT Three month LME copper 6813 Most active ShFE copper 53000 Three month LME aluminium 2137 Most active ShFE 16380
Three month LME zinc 3211 Most active ShFE zinc 25820 Three month LME lead 2549 Most active ShFE lead 20625 Three month LME nickel 11180 Most active ShFE nickel 89650 Three month LME tin 20755 Most active ShFE tin 145250
BASE METALS ARBITRAGE
LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 386 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -6.96 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 563.15 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -316.18 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2531.43
($1 = 6.5863 Chinese yuan renminbi)
($1 = 6.5901 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)