Wires

METALS-Copper poised for biggest monthly fall since May on virus fears

SINGAPORE, Jan 31 (Reuters) - London copper prices rose on Friday, but were on track for their biggest monthly decline in eight months as the coronavirus epidemic raised fears of a slowdown in demand from top metals consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) has fallen 8.9% so far in the month, on course for its sharpest drop since May 2019.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the virus outbreak a global health emergency, with the death toll in China reaching 213 on Friday and the number of confirmed cases rising to 9,692.

London copper, often used as a gauge of economic health, has lost some 10% since the virus started making headlines last week. However, it rose 0.6% to $5,623.50 a tonne by 0515 GMT on Friday after 12 straight sessions of losses.

China is the world's biggest copper consumer and a major user of many other metals. Fears that the epidemic would stall economic activities have dented metals demand.

Growth in China's factory activity faltered in January as export orders fell, with the Purchasing Managers' Index falling to 50.0 in January from 50.2 in December.

FUNDAMENTALS

* CHINA SERVICE: Growth in China's services sector activity quickened in January. The official services PMI rose to 54.1 from 53.5 in December, official data showed.

* MMG/PERU: Transportation of metal from MMG Ltd's Las Bambas copper mine in Southern Peru has been halted since Monday, as local communities protested against pollution.

* FORCE MAJEURE: A Chinese international trade promotion agency said it would offer force majeure certificates to companies struggling to cope with the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic on their business with overseas partners.

* COLUMN: Nickel and copper are bull stand-outs in base metals poll: Andy Home.

* CHINA: China's refined tin imports in December were 899 tonnes, customs data showed, more than double from the previous month and almost seven times the level a year ago.

* OTHER PRICES: LME aluminum rose 0.1% to $1,733 a tonne, nickel advanced 0.6% to $12,695 a tonne, zinc increased 0.6% to $2,200 a tonne, lead jumped 1.3% to $1,849 a tonne and tin edged up 0.7% to $16,130 a tonne.

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

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian share markets battled to regain their footing as investors clutched at hopes China could contain the coronavirus, even as headlines spoke of ever more cases and mounting deaths.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0630 France GDP Preliminary QQ Q4

0745 France CPI (EU Norm) Prelim YY Jan

1000 EU HICP Flash YY Jan

1000 EU HICP-X F&E Flash YY Jan

1000 EU GDP Flash Prelim YY, QQ Q4

1330 US Consumption, Adjusted MM Dec

1500 US U Mich Sentiment Final Jan

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

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 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)