METALS-LME copper slips as dollar gains in holiday-thinned trade

MELBOURNE, Feb 19 (Reuters) - London metals started the week lower on Monday as a resurgent dollar dragged down prices from one-month highs hit the session before and the Lunar New Year holidays reduced liquidity.


* COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had slipped by 0.6 percent to $7,189 a tonne by 0104 GMT, erasing small gains from the previous session when prices hit the highest since Jan. 15 at $7,253. Volumes were exceptionally light across the complex with less than 200 lots of turnover.

* SHFE: The Shanghai Futures Exchange was closed for the Lunar New Year. Markets will reopen on Thursday, Feb. 22.

* DOLLAR: The dollar found some traction following last week's steep fall and managed to hold above a three-year low against a basket of currencies.

* INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions in COMEX gold and copper contracts in the week to Feb. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday. The dealers cut their net long position in copper by 17,690 contracts to 36,119 contracts, according to the CFTC data, the lowest since May.

* COPPER STOCKS: Comex copper stocks have doubled from this time last year to more than 225,000 tonnes. <HG-STX-COMEX> LME stocks were also at nine-month highs, due to inflows earlier this month. <MCUSTX-TOTAL>. SHFE copper stocks were at the highest since August. <CU-STX-SGH>

* ALUMINIUM DUTIES: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross unveiled options on Friday for President Donald Trump to impose hefty steel and aluminium import restrictions ranging from global tariffs on all products from all countries to quotas based on previous exports to the United States.

* U.S. ECONOMY: U.S. homebuilding rose to a more than one-year high in January, boosted by strong increases in the construction of both single- and multi-family housing units, and further gains are likely with building permits surging to their highest since 2007.

* NOBLE: Embattled commodities trader Noble Group Ltd said on Monday that it expects a total fourth-quarter 2017 loss of $1.73 billion to $1.93 billion, stemming largely from non-cash losses from its mark-to-market derivatives portfolio.

* ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium eased 0.6 percent after it closed 2 percent higher on Friday, supported by tightening spreads. Aluminium spreads have come under the most pressure since August, widening to a $10 premium for cash over benchmark material as the major contract nears expiry, which is likely to trigger exchange deliveries. <CMAL0-3>

* OTHER METALS: Other metals were flat to lower, led by LME nickel, which fell 1.2 percent after posting a 7 percent rally last week.

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* Asian shares ticked up, joining a global recovery for equity markets as sentiment improved gradually from a recent shakeout that stemmed from fears of creeping inflation and higher borrowing costs.


No major releases on Monday


BASE METALS PRICES 0109 GMT Three month LME copper 7189 Most active ShFE copper 0 Three month LME aluminium 2195 Most active ShFE aluminium 0 Three month LME zinc 3564.5 Most active ShFE zinc 0 Three month LME lead 2605 Most active ShFE lead 0 Three month LME nickel 13745 Most active ShFE nickel 0 Three month LME tin 21750 Most active ShFE tin 0

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)