METALS-London copper climbs on China data, but US tariff worries drag

(Recasts, updates prices) MELBOURNE, March 14 (Reuters) - London copper prices climbed on Wednesday on better-than-expected Chinese industrial production figures for the start of the year, but concerns about an escalation in U.S. trade tariffs capped gains. China's industrial output expanded faster than expected at the start of the year, suggesting the world's second-biggest economy has sustained solid momentum despite a crackdown on polluting industries and a campaign to reduce risks in the financial system. "On the face of it, (the China data) looked fairly positive for me. The fixed asset investment was obviously much better than expected and also the property investment as well," said analyst Daniel Hynes of ANZ in Sydney. "For the moment, this cloud around the trade issues is going to weigh on sentiment."


* LONDON COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper cut early losses to trade up 0.7 percent at $6,990 a tonne by 0702 GMT, adding to a 0.5-percent gain in the previous session, when prices edged up as the dollar fell. LME copper dipped to its lowest in a month at $6,777 a tonne last week.

* SHANGHAI COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper climbed by 0.8 percent to 52,330 yuan ($8,283) a tonne.

* U.S. TARIFFS: U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday.

* ALUMINIUM: China's aluminum production fell 1.8 percent in January-February from a year earlier, data showed on Wednesday, as the country's pollution crackdown and supply-side reform kicked in even as new smelters are due to come onstream this year.

* ALUMINIUM PREMIUMS: Tariffs on aluminum imports to the United States that will begin from next week have boosted U.S. aluminum premiums. Premiums have almost doubled to 19 cents per pound from 10 cents in late January.

* DEMAND: Japan's core machinery orders rebounded in January from a steep decline the previous month, handily beating expectations in a sign that capital spending will continue contributing to economic growth.

* COPPER MINING: For years Rio Tinto has been the sole international copper mine operator in Mongolia, bound closely to a country where it has bet billions of dollars on the giant Oyu Tolgoi project. That is changing as a bunch of smaller players raise their exploration in the country.

* COMING UP: Euro zone Industrial production Jan at 1000 GMT

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BASE METALS PRICES 0704 GMT Three month LME copper 6990 Most active ShFE copper 52320 Three month LME aluminum 2105 Most active ShFE aluminum 13955 Three month LME zinc 3288 Most active ShFE zinc 25195 Three month LME lead 2405.5 Most active ShFE lead 18535 Three month LME nickel 13895 Most active ShFE nickel 104850 Three month LME tin 21205 Most active ShFE tin 145170



($1 = 6.3179 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Tom Hogue and Joseph Radford)