METALS-LME metals climb as dollar plunges to 3-year low

(Adds comment, details, and updates prices) MELBOURNE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Base metals on the London Metal Exchange climbed on Monday, buoyed as the U.S. dollar came under pressure from expectations the European Central Bank may soon start trimming monetary stimulus. The U.S. dollar wallowed at three-year lows against a basket of currencies, while the euro took a breather after soaring on hopes that ECB policymakers were gearing up to further trim their monetary stimulus. A weaker dollar buoys demand for commodities as it makes them cheaper for buyers paying with other currencies. Fundamentally, metals have also found support from resilient China demand, said ANZ after China's commodities buying spree eased slightly in December from bumper levels a month earlier.

The slight drop in year-on-year import growth rates raised some doubts as to continued strong growth this year, ANZ added. "However, we feel such fears will ultimately be unfounded."


* COPPER: LME copper hit the highest since Jan. 4 at $7,226 a tonne, trading up 1.6 percent, as of 0402 GMT. Prices have oscillated around the range of $7,070-$7,315 since late December notably due to resilient demand from China.

* While China's copper imports fell by 8.2 percent in December, this was mostly due to base effect, after last year's imports were particularly strong, said ANZ. "Last month's volumes still represent the third highest over the past two years, suggesting demand remains robust."

* Shanghai Futures Exchange copper shed earlier losses to rise 0.2 percent to 54,810 yuan ($8,533) a tonne.

* LME zinc climbed 1 percent, extending Friday's gains to hit its highest in a more than a decade at $3,422 a tonne. A dearth of mining investment in the recent years has resulted in a shortage of the refined metal used to galvanize steel.

* LME aluminum gained 1.3 percent to $2,243.00 a tonne. In late December, it reached $2,290.50 a tonne, which was its highest in more than four years, partly after output cuts in top producer China eroded global supply.

* PERU: Damage in world No. 2 copper producer Peru appeared limited after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck on Sunday. No victims have been reported, the governor of Peru's Arequipa region said on Twitter.

* INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers trimmed a net long position in COMEX copper contracts in the week to Jan. 9, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.

* COMING UP: Euro Zone Trade data for Nov at 1000 GMT PRICES

0400 GMT

Three month LME copper 7222.5 Most active ShFE copper 54790 Three month LME aluminum 2239.5 Most active ShFE 15180


Three month LME zinc 3417 Most active ShFE zinc 26295 Three month LME lead 2558.5 Most active ShFE lead 19145 Three month LME nickel 12860 Most active ShFE nickel 100130 Three month LME tin 20275 Most active ShFE tin 145120 LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 621.44 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1557.93 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 319.03 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -617.75 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1892.62

($1 = 6.4234 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton, Editing by Joseph Radford and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)