METALS-Copper consolidates after China's strong imports

MELBOURNE, Oct 16 (Reuters) - London copper prices eased on Monday but stayed near three-year highs, underpinned by a rise in oil prices, after China's copper imports surged in September.


* LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper eased by 0.2 percent to $6,866 by 0155 GMT, after closing little changed in the previous session when prices struck the highest in a month at $6,918.50 a tonne and closed in on a three-year top of $6,970 a tonne hit on Sept 5.

* SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper slipped by 0.3 percent to 53,240 yuan ($8,093) a tonne. It had pushed to 53,750 late on Friday, which was its most expensive since Feb 2013.

* CHINA COPPER: China's unwrought copper imports surged by 26.5 percent in September from a year ago, customs data showed on Friday, but remained on course for an annual drop in 2017. .

* CHINA ECONOMY: China's economy is expected to grow 7 percent in the second half of this year, the country's central bank governor said, accelerating from the first six months and defying economists' expectations for a slowdown.

* OIL: Supporting oil prices, Iraqi forces began moving at midnight on Sunday towards oil fields held by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

* ALUMINIUM: The Chinese city of Binzhou, home to top global aluminium producer China Hongqiao Group, has ordered the closure of around 2.57 million tonnes of smelting capacity this winter, according to Reuters calculations based on government document.

* COPPER, ALUMINIUM: In a potential boost to U.S. copper demand, the Trump administration is requiring the use of North American-made steel, aluminum, copper and plastic resins in cars and trucks sold under North American Free Trade Agreement rules, as it seeks to give U.S. industry a boost.

* COPPER INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers reduced their net long position in COMEX gold contracts for the fourth straight week, in the week to Oct. 10, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. They raised their net long positions in copper futures and options for the first time in five weeks, the data showed.

* LME nickel slipped by half a percent, having rallied 2.5 percent on Friday, supported by prospects that China's pollution crackdown over winter could hit supply.

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* Asian shares advanced to new highs on Monday following Wall Street's lead, while U.S. oil futures jumped to hover near a six-month peak as escalating tensions between the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces threatened supply.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade Aug 1230 U.S. New York Fed manufacturing Oct PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0131 GMT Three month LME copper 6864.5 Most active ShFE copper 53230 Three month LME aluminium 2143 Most active ShFE aluminium 16585 Three month LME zinc 3231.5 Most active ShFE zinc 25955 Three month LME lead 2540 Most active ShFE lead 20595 Three month LME nickel 11630 Most active ShFE nickel 92850 Three month LME tin 20700 Most active ShFE tin 147120



($1 = 6.5789 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sonali Paul)