METALS-Copper holds ground amid persistent dollar weakness

(Adds analyst comment, scrap data, updates prices) BEIJING, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Copper prices were flat on Tuesday amid a persistent weak dollar, even as official data showed top producer China churned out a record volume of refined copper in December, suggesting the world's biggest copper consumer is well supplied. A weak dollar makes metals cheaper for holders of other currencies and supports prices, and the greenback's dive as a result of the U.S. government shutdown had seen copper climbing 0.4 percent on Monday. "We think recent copper price rebound is mostly driven by dollar weakness," Argonaut Securities wrote in a note. "Any dollar weakness reversal may weigh down on copper prices, in our view." While China's refined copper output hit an all-time high in December, Argonaut noted that unwrought copper imports fell by 5 percent in 2017. "The reduced import appetite reflects China's sluggish copper demand, especially in the power sector," it added.


* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was flat at $7,067 a tonne by 0510 GMT, having gained 0.4 percent in the previous session.

* SHFE COPPER: The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was also unchanged at 53,600 yuan ($8,377.62) a tonne.

* USD: The dollar index was steady, with the currency remaining near three-year lows after a short-lived rally following the deal to re-open the U.S. government.

* CHINA: China's refined copper output jumped by 16.7 percent year-on-year to a record high in December, as smelters looked to churn out as much metal as possible ahead of a fall in treatment charges for copper concentrate.

* SCRAP: China's imports of scrap copper fell 19.8 percent in December from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, as the country continues a clampdown on taking foreign waste.

* OTHER METALS: Aluminium and nickel were hardest hit in a broad-based metals sell-off on Tuesday, slipping 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

* ALUMINIUM: China's central Henan province churned out more aluminum than neighboring Shandong in 2017 for the first time in years, becoming the nation's top-producing region.

* MONGOLIA: Global miner Rio Tinto, will set up a new office in the Mongolian capital, separate from its giant Oyu Tolgoi project, to focus on exploration and local ties, strengthening its commitment to one of the world's greatest copper prospects.

* CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Swiss-based commodities fund Tiberius Group plans to make a foray into cryptocurrencies with the launch of what may be the first digital money underpinned by physically deliverable metals including industrials such as aluminum and copper.

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* Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday after U.S. senators struck a deal to end a three-day government shutdown, sending Wall Street's main indexes to record highs, while the dollar inched down against the yen after the Bank of Japan kept policy steady.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 1000 Germany ZEW economic sentiment Jan 1500 U.S. Richmond Fed composite index Jan 1500 Euro zone Consumer confidence flash PRICES

0528 GMT

Three month LME copper 7066 Most active ShFE 53590


Three month LME 2236.5


Most active ShFE 14640


Three month LME zinc 3412 Most active ShFE zinc 26105 Three month LME lead 2606.5 Most active ShFE lead 19525 Three month LME nickel 12650 Most active ShFE 97830


Three month LME tin 20665 Most active ShFE tin 146370 LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 872.38 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1994.05 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 261.75 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -613.22 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 2090.3

($1 = 6.3980 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)