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METALS-Copper rises for fourth day as Trump hails trade progress

Peter Hobson

(Updates throughout, moves dateline from SINGAPORE)

LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Copper prices hit their highest in nearly three weeks on Wednesday, rising for a fourth day after U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington was in the "final throes" of work on a trade deal with China.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.7% at $5,966.50 a tonne at 1121 GMT.

The metal used in power and construction has fallen around 20% since the United States and China began their trade dispute in summer 2018 and global economic growth began to weaken.

It has been stuck in a range between around $5,600 and $6,100 since May.

Momentum in trade talks and a slight improvement in global factory data should keep prices near the top of that range, said Danske Bank analyst Jens Pedersen.

But a "phase one" trade agreement is unlikely to push prices significantly higher, he said. "What matters is more what happens after that."

TRADE WAR/MARKETS: Trump's comment after U.S. and Chinese negotiators spoke by telephone boosted oil prices and lifted world equities to within a whisker of record highs.

CHINA FACTORIES: However, profits at China's industrial firms shrank at their fastest pace in eight months in October, underscoring slowing momentum in the economy.

China is the world's largest consumer of metals and weakening factory activity there has weighed on the demand outlook.

COPPER STOCKS: Combined copper inventories in LME and Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) warehouses, at around 350,000 tonnes, are at typical levels for this time of year. <MCUSTX-TOTAL> <CU-STX-SGH>

But stockpiles in Chinese bonded warehouses, at 243,800 tonnes, are down from near 400,000 tonnes a year ago and the lowest since at least 2013. <SMM-CUR-BON>

CHINA PREMIUMS: Chinese Yangshan import premiums, at $73, were rising back towards October's 11-month high of $83. SMM-CUYP-CN>

TECHNICALS: Copper held above its 50- and 100-day moving averages this month and is rising towards its technically important 200-day moving average at $6,013.

ZAMBIA COPPER: Zambia's Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) smelter, which has a capacity of 311,000 tonnes, could restart next week after a delay of around a fortnight, mines minister Richard Masukwa told Reuters.

MUTANDA: Glencore's Mutanda mine in Democratic Republic of Congo suspended operations prematurely on Monday due to a lack of sulphuric acid, a key input for copper and cobalt extraction.

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was up 0.5% at $1,761.50 a tonne, zinc rose 0.1% to $2,302, lead gained 0.5% to $1.952.50 and tin added 0.2% to $16,355.

Nickel bucked the trend, falling 1% to $14,455 a tonne.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Jan Harvey)