holiday season loom@ (Adds closing prices, detail on smelter launch) BEIJING, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Shanghai aluminum prices recorded their first drop in eight days on Thursday as the market braced for the launch of a new smelter and on signs of a slowdown in demand ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday next month. China's Henan Shenhuo Group at the end of this month will start production at the first 150,000-tonne-per-year line of its aluminum smelting project in Wenshan prefecture, Yunnan province, company officials said on Thursday. Aluminum on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) hit a more than three-month high on Wednesday after a long rally supported Stocks in warehouses monitored by the bourse <AL-STX-SGH> have declined more than 70% so far in the year and were at 193,820 tonnes on Dec. 20. "With the approach of the Spring Festival, the squeeze on warehouses has declined," Everbright Futures analysts said in a note, using the Chinese term for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
* ALUMINIUM: The most traded February aluminum contract on the ShFE closed down 1.3% at a one-week low of 14,055 yuan ($2,008.34) a tonne.
* COPPER: ShFE copper rose for a third day, closing up 0.2% 49,650 yuan a tonne after hitting a fresh eight-month high of 49,940 yuan a tonne on easing U.S.-China trade tensions.
* COPPER: China's top copper smelters on Thursday at a meeting in Fuzhou raised their floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for the first quarter of 2020 by 1.5% from the current quarter to $67 per tonne and 6.7 cents a pound.
* OTHER METALS: Shanghai lead closed up 0.6% on 15,215 yuan a tonne after jumping as much as 1.4% to 15,340 yuan, its highest since Nov. 29, in overnight trading amid stockpiling and a smog alert in the lead heartland of Henan. Nickel closed up 0.3%, zinc shed 0.4% and tin nudged up 0.1%.
* LME: The London Metal Exchange remains closed on Thursday for the Boxing Day holiday and will reopen on Friday.
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($1 = 6.9983 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Jason Neely)