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METALS-Copper inches higher on softer dollar, China data

* LME/ShFE arb: http://bit.ly/2wZSAEz (Updates throughout, changes MELBOURNE dateline)

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Copper prices gained for a fourth straight session on Monday, supported by a weaker dollar and data from top consumer China that indicated higher demand.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.4 percent to $6,596.50 a tonne by 1150 GMT. The metal used in power and construction has dipped about 8 percent from a three-year high in October.

"The dollar is weaker and so that is supportive for copper at the moment," said Commerzbank head of commodities research Eugen Weinberg, adding that data from China including on higher copper imports last week had helped the metal rise.

"The price of copper has fallen from recent highs so some might be going for bargain-hunting already," Weinberg said.

Vehicle and loans data from China, which accounts for about half of global consumption of industrial metals, pointed to improved consumer confidence.

CHINA VEHICLES: Vehicle sales in November rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.96 million vehicles, marking a sixth consecutive month of gains, an industry association said on Monday.

CHINA LOANS: China's bank lending in the first 11 months of 2017 topped last year's record, thanks to a stronger-than-expected jump in November credit. Household loans, mostly mortgages, also rose and accounted for 55 percent of total new loans.

DOLLAR: A lower U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper for non-U.S. firms. The dollar slipped against a trade-weighted basket of currencies on lackluster U.S. wage data that could weigh on the pace of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve next year.

LME ZINC: London Metal Exchange zinc inched up 0.5 percent to $3,098.50, weaving around its 100-day moving average of around $3,100 on supply woes.

ZINC BACKWARDATION: The premium of cash zinc over the three-month contract <MZN0-3> has eased to $7.50 from a high of $91 hit on Oct. 12.

ZINC STOCKS: Headline zinc stocks in LME-approved warehouses <MZNSTX-TOTAL> shed 1,700 tonnes to 199,425 tonnes, their lowest since November 2008. But canceled warrants - metal earmarked for delivery - stood at 18 percent of total stocks, down from 50 percent three months ago.

ZINC PRODUCTION: China's zinc production fell 1.1 percent year-on-year in November to 423,000 tonnes, Antaike said. The state-backed research firm expects 2017 production to drop by between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes.

INVESTORS: Speculators slashed their long positions on COMEX copper futures and options by around a third to 54,881 positions in the latest week, Comex data showed.

(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE; Editing by Dale Hudson)