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METALS-London copper scales near 8-month peak on trade hopes, China smelter cuts

cuts@ (Adds Shanghai closing prices, stocks data; updates London prices) BEIJING, Dec 27 (Reuters) - London copper rose to its highest in almost eight months on Friday on signs that Beijing and Washington were closer to signing a Phase One trade pact and concerns that two Chinese smelters had cut output. Opening after a two-day Christmas break, three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange firmed as much as 0.8% to $6,266 a tonne, its highest since May 7, and stood at $6,263 as of 0800 GMT. The gains came after the most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.5% on Wednesday and another 0.2% on Thursday. The contract closed up 0.2% at 49,730 yuan ($7,104.07) per tonne on Friday for its fourth straight day of gains. London prices of the metal, widely used in power and construction, were on course to gain 1.3% over the holiday-shortened week, which would mark their sixth straight weekly rise, and have firmed 6.7% this month. FUNDAMENTALS

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

* CHINA: China's top copper smelters 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, people with knowledge of the matter, citing output cuts at two Chinese companies.

* SHFE STOCKS: Copper inventories in warehouses monitored by the ShFE fell 4.2% from the previous week to 123,647 tonnes, the exchange said on Friday. Aluminium stocks continued to drop, by 4.5%, although Shanghai aluminium prices closed down 0.4%, falling for a second day.

* 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: The LME complex was mixed, with nickel slipping as much as 2.1% to a one week-low of $14,035 a tonne, and lead and tin losing 0.6%. Aluminium nudged up 0.3% and zinc added 1.1%.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares scaled an 18-month high while oil prices stayed buoyant in a holiday-shortened week, as investor optimism improved on hopes a U.S.-China trade deal would soon be signed.

PRICES

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

3

3

3

3

3

($1 = 6.9988 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Aditya Soni and Jason Neely)