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METALS-Copper marks time ahead of China reports

MELBOURNE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - London copper marked time on Thursday amid prospects of better demand and ahead of a slew of economic readings out of China that were expected to signal a slowdown in economic growth.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was barely changed at $6,982 a tonne by 0136 GMT, having closed a tad softer in the previous session. A close below the $7,000 watermark may trigger a technical consolidation. LME copper hit a three-year top of $7,177 a tonne on Monday.

* SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper slipped by 0.7 percent to 54,510 yuan ($8,228) a tonne.

* CHINA ECONOMY: China is expected on Thursday to post a modest slowdown in third-quarter economic growth from the previous quarter as the government's efforts to rein in the property market and debt risks weigh on activity in the world's second-largest economy. Analysts polled by Reuters expect gross domestic product (GDP) to have grown 6.8 percent in the July-September period, cooling from the previous quarter's 6.9 percent expansion.

* CHINA CONGRESS: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday laid out a confident vision for a more prosperous nation and its role in the world, stressing the importance of wiping out corruption and curbing industrial overcapacity, income inequality and pollution.

* US ECONOMY: The U.S. economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace in September through early October despite the impact of hurricanes on some regions, the Federal Reserve said in its latest snapshot of the U.S. economy released on Wednesday, but there were still few signs of an acceleration in inflation.

* EV DEMAND: In supportive news for nickel and copper, China's electric vehicle (EV) production could touch 1 million units next year and 3 million units by 2020, said Xu Heyi, chairman of carmaker BAIC Group, on Wednesday, likely exceeding a government-set target.

* COPPER DEMAND: Chile state copper commission Cochilco forecasted on Wednesday an average global copper price of $2.95 per pound in 2018, a sharp upward revision from its mid-year estimate of $2.68, due to greater demand in China, a key market.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks inched up to near decade highs on Thursday, continuing to ride on a global equities rally, while the dollar resumed its rise on the back of a spike in U.S. yields.

DATA/EVENTS 0200 China GDP Q3 0200 China Industrial output Sep 0200 China Retail sales Sep 0200 China Urban investment Sep 0830 Britain Retail sales Sep 1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 1230 U.S. Philly Fed business index Oct 1400 U.S. Leading index Sep PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0133 GMT Three month LME copper 6974 Most active ShFE copper 54550 Three month LME aluminium 2120 Most active ShFE aluminium 16050 Three month LME zinc 3110 Most active ShFE zinc 25275 Three month LME lead 2493 Most active ShFE lead 19350 Three month LME nickel 11605 Most active ShFE nickel 93270 Three month LME tin 0 Most active ShFE tin 144840

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 569.01 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -284.96 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 584.6 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -698.72 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2518.57

($1 = 6.6246 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)