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METALS-Copper eases after strong gains; concerns over China growth

SINGAPORE, July 11 (Reuters) - Copper took a breather on Thursday after a strong rally in the previous session when metals were buoyed by renewed hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal and expectations of a U.S. rate cut.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.1% to $5,925 a tonne by 0206 GMT, after posting its biggest rise since Jan. 25 in the previous session.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rallied 1.4% to 46,560 yuan ($6,777.00) a tonne, tracking rises of London copper in the previous session.

Dampening sentiment, traders eyed forecasts for slower growth in China, with vehicle sales contracting for a 12th straight month in June and a Reuters poll showing economists expect economic growth to slow to a near 30-year low of 6.2% this year.

But metals were supported by a softer U.S. dollar as Federal Reserve policymakers consider arguments for cutting rates for the first time in a decade.

A weaker dollar makes greenback-priced metals cheaper for users of other currencies.

FUNDAMENTALS

* PRICES: London aluminium retreated from a two-month high, falling 0.7% and lead eased 0.1%. Nickel marched towards a three-month high, up 0.4% while zinc was almost unchanged.

* SHANGHAI: Shanghai aluminium rose 0.5%, nickel advanced 1.5% and zinc increased 0.4%.

* BOSNIA ALUMINIUM: Bosnia's sole aluminium smelter Aluminij will file for bankruptcy after closing on Wednesday over debts incurred because of high electricity and alumina prices.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks rose and the dollar sagged after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reinforced prospects of a U.S. interest rate cut later this month.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0600 (approx) Germany HICP Final YY June

0645 France CPI (EU Norm) Final MM June

0645 France CPI (EU Norm) Final YY June

1130 Germany ECB publishes minutes of June

monetary policy meeting

1200 (approx) Brazil Retail Sales YY May

1230 US CPI MM, SA June

1230 US Initial Jobless Claims weekly

1400 US Fed's Chairman Jerome Powell

testifies on the Semiannual

Monetary Report to Congress before

the Senate Banking Committee

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 = 6.8703 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Richard Pullin)