Wires

METALS-London copper scales near 8-month peak on trade optimism

BEIJING, Dec 27 (Reuters) - London copper rose to its highest in almost eight months on Friday, tracking a rally in Shanghai prices, on signs that China and the United States were closer to signing a Phase 1 trade pact. Opening after a two-day Christmas break, three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange firmed as much as 0.7% to $6,256 a tonne in early trade, the highest since May 7, and stood at $6,252.50 as of 0124 GMT. The gains came after the most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange settled 0.5% higher on Wednesday and added another 0.2% on Thursday. The contract edged up 0.1% to 49,670 yuan ($7,103.32) a tonne on Friday, set for its fourth straight session of gains. London prices of the metal, widely used in power and construction, were on course to gain 1.2% over the holiday-shortened week and have firmed 6.6% so far this month.

FUNDAMENTALS

* TRADE: China is in close touch with the United States on signing a Phase 1 trade deal, the country's commerce ministry said on Thursday, adding that both sides are still going through necessary procedures before the signing.

* CHINA: China's top copper smelters on Thursday raised their floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for the first quarter of 2020 to $67 a tonne and 6.7 cents a pound, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

* ZAMBIA: Zambia plans to make copper mining companies account for the gold they produce as it seeks to boost revenue from its mineral resources, a senior ministry of mines official said on Thursday.

* OTHER METALS: Most other LME metals were lower, with nickel slipping 0.6%, lead losing 0.4% and aluminium down 0.2%. Zinc, used to galvanise steel, was the only other London metal to rise, adding 0.2% to $2,279.50 a tonne.

* ALUMINIUM: Yunnan Aluminium said on Thursday its board of directors had unanimously approved building a 210,000 tonne per year second phase at its aluminium smelting project in Heqing county, Yunnan province, southwest China.

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

MARKETS NEWS

* A gauge of global equity markets and Wall Street's three major indices finished at all-time highs on Thursday in light holiday trade as a year-end rally advanced further on optimism over a U.S.-China trade agreement.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 1100* Brazil IGP-M Inflation Index Dec

* approximate release time

PRICES

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

3

3

3

3

3

($1 = 6.9925 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Aditya Soni)