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METALS-Copper nears three-year top on rosier China economy

(Adds comment, detail, updates prices) MELBOURNE, Oct 16 (Reuters) - London copper prices rose to near three-year highs on Monday, underpinned by improving manufacturing profits in China that pointed to a robust economy in the world's top user of metals. China's producer price inflation unexpectedly accelerated to a six-month high in September as a construction boom shows no signs of abating and as a government crackdown on air pollution triggers fears of winter shortages and frenzied jumps in commodity prices. The inflation reading followed data showing China's copper imports surged in September, fuelling optimism about demand, said analyst Helen Lau of broker Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong. "Based on these quite solid fundamentals, people will react very positively to any newsflow on copper."

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper rallied changed in the previous session. Prices earlier struck their loftiest in a month at $6,955.50, closing in on a three-year top of $6,970 a tonne hit on Sept 5.

* SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper struck a 4-1/2-year high at 54,040 yuan ($8,218), before moderating back to 54,020 a tonne, up 1.1 percent.

* 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, 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 and aluminium demand, the Trump administration is requiring the use of North American-made steel, aluminium, copper and plastic resins in cars and trucks sold under North American Free Trade Agreement rules.

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

* COMING UP: China is in the midst of publishing September data, culminating in its third-quarter gross domestic product number on Thursday. The twice-in-a-decade Communist Party congress will begin on Wednesday where President Xi Jinping is expected to strengthen his grip on power in a major party leadership reshuffle. PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0521 GMT Three month LME copper 6941 Most active ShFE copper 54010 Three month LME aluminium 2145 Most active ShFE 16535

aluminium

Three month LME zinc 3253.5 Most active ShFE zinc 26010 Three month LME lead 2555.5 Most active ShFE lead 20575 Three month LME nickel 11655 Most active ShFE nickel 93060 Three month LME tin 20760 Most active ShFE tin 147540

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 576.17 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 107.6 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 491.96 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -167.05 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2176.48

($1 = 6.5755 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sonali Paul and Tom Hogue)