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METALS-Copper dips on profit taking, US rate rise expected

* LME/ShFE arb: http://bit.ly/2wZSAEz

(Recasts, updates prices, adds details/quote; changes dateline) LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Copper lead most base metals lower on Tuesday, as investors booked profits ahead of the year-end and ahead of an expected U.S. interest rate increase this week. Also weighing on metals, equity markets fell in China, with investors worried that China's central bank might follow the U.S. Federal Reserve's lead on rates. "We're treading water ahead of the Fed decision (and) forward guidance (statement). The big picture is still profit taking by funds in approach to the year end," Robin Bhar, metals specialist at Societe Generale, said. "We've got (index) rebalancing (in) January and Chinese New Year (in) February, so we can't get clear direction for a few months."

* COPPER PRICE: Three-month copper on the London

Metal Exchange dipped 0.2 percent at $6,657.50. The metal has fallen some 3 percent so far this month.

* DOLLAR: The dollar was flat after strong recent gains as the Fed geared up for a two-day policy meeting, with investors waiting for guidance on the future path of borrowing costs.

A strong dollar makes dollar-priced metals costlier for non-U.S. investors.

* CHINA ECONOMY: Vehicle and loans data from China, which accounts for about half of global consumption of industrial metals, on Monday pointed to improved consumer confidence. "There is as yet little evidence of the governments deleveraging attempts ... given that lending has also risen sharply since the beginning of the year," Commerzbank said in a note.

* GLENCORE: Miner and trader Glencore said its marketing division's EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) for 2017 would be at the top end of its previous guidance at $2.8 billion, adding it was maintaining a policy of cautious growth.

* ALUMINIUM PRICE: Aluminium fell 0.4 percent to

$2,014, down nearly 2 percent so far this month.

* ALUMINIUM STOCKS: On-warrant aluminium stocks on the LME rose by 8,375 tonnes on the day to 879,800 tonnes, data showed. "Barring a stronger enforcement of the (aluminium) capacity cuts in China, we believe the aluminium market should remain oversupplied. Hence, we stick to our cautious view while reiterating our three and twelve-month price targets at $1,950 and $1,850 per tonne," Julius Baer said in a note.

(Addititonal reporting by James Regan. Editing by Jane Merriman)