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METALS-London copper eases but still near 4-yr high

SYDNEY, Dec 29 (Reuters) - London copper eased a touch in early Asian trading on Friday but remained close to a 4-year peak hit overnight amid a bullish outlook for demand and supply uncertainty.

Copper's upward momentum has put the metal used in a wide range of industrial and hi-tech applications on track for its largest annual rise since 2009. Prices in 2017 have galloped moe than 30 percent higher.

FUNDAMENTALS

* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange eased to $7,277 a tonne by 0124 GMT, down 0.2 percent from the close in more active London Metal Exchange trading overnight, where the contract reached $7,312.50 in intraday trading, its highest since January 2014. I

* SHFE: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.3 percent to 55,600 yuan ($8,511)a tonne.

IMPORTS: China accounts for about half of global copper demand estimated at around 23.5 million tonnes. Its imports rose to 329,168 tonnes in November, up 19 percent from the same period a year ago.

DEMAND: Analysts say China's copper demand growth may be as high as three percent in 2018 from around two percent this year.

LABOUR: Analysts at Citi say there are over 30 labour contracts, covering around five million tonnes of copper mine supply, due to expire next year, most of them in Chile and Peru.

OTHER METALS: With the exception of lead, the remainder of active ShFE base metals contracts were firmer, led by aluminium, up 1.5 percent and nickel up 1.2 percent.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian markets were ending 2017 in a party mood after a year in which a concerted pick-up in global growth boosted corporate profits and commodity prices, while benign inflation kept central banks from taking away the punch bowl.

* METALS INDEX: Australia's metals & mining index rises as much as 0.6 pct to its highest since March 2013.

* DOLLAR WALLOWS: The dollar wallowed near a one-month low against a basket of currencies on Friday, while currencies like the Australian and Canadian dollars were at two-month highs thanks to firmer commodity prices.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 6.5322 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by James Regan; editing by Richard Pullin)