* Market awaits China's official PMI on Thursday
* Merchants check on availability of tin
(Updates with official prices) LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - London copper rose more than 1 percent as the dollar weakened against the euro on Wednesday, but the metal was still on track for a monthly loss on uncertainty about demand from top consumer China. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange did not trade in official rings, but was bid at $7,823 a tonne, up 1.3 percent from Tuesday's close, the biggest gain in six weeks. It extended a modest rise from Tuesday after recovering from a two-month low hit on Monday. Copper, which has given up nearly all of a September rally that followed central bank stimulus announcements, was bolstered by the soft dollar against the euro, which makes metals priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for Europeans.
The European currency received support from a well received Italian debt auction on Tuesday and from improved economic data, including higher German retail sales. There was little confidence that copper's rebound would gather much momentum ahead of the U.S. presidential election next Tuesday and the Chinese leadership transition during a meeting that starts two days later, analysts and traders said. ``I can't imagine anybody's going to be taking any big positions either way, and I can't imagine the dollar's going to do a huge amount either. Everything's going to range-trade ahead of those two events next week,'' said Wiktor Bielski, global head of commodities research at VTB Capital. ``I think the whole risk-on, risk-off switching is probably largely being driven by fast money - not really by any of the macro hedge funds or institutional investors - just basically short-term traders.'' Worries about metals demand in China, which accounted for about 40 percent of global copper consumption last year, has weighed on copper in October, and it is on track for monthly a loss of almost 5 percent. That would be its steepest drop since falling nearly 12 percent in May. The market will be watching the release on Thursday of China's official manufacturing gauge, and a monthly U.S. jobs report for October is scheduled for release on Friday.
FLURRY IN TIN WARRANTS Traders in Asia said copper was stuck in a range, with day-trading on technical levels between the 90-day ($7,804) and 100-day ($7,768) moving averages, with rallies likely to lead to light selling in Asia. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most-traded February copper contract rose 0.67 percent to close at 56,860 yuan ($9,100) a tonne. ``There is not much conviction in China, with the discount from paper to physical (prices) remaining large. Still, Chinese are reluctant to sell aggressively for now,'' one trader based in Shanghai said. China's appetite for copper imports may fall next year as domestic production of refined copper rises, an analyst at state-backed research firm Antaike said this week. In other metals, LME three-month tin gained 1.3 percent in official trading to $20,050 a tonne, edging above resistance of $20,000 after two days of failing at that level. Triland Metals said in a note there seemed to be a flurry in the tin warrant market in Asia as merchants checked the availability of material, potentially a sign of reduced producer activity below the $20,000 per tonne mark. Of LME tin inventories, some 43 percent of the total stocks of 11,860 tonnes is cancelled and therefore not available to the market. Aluminium did not trade in official rings and was bid at barely changed levels of $1,911 a tonne, $2 higher than Tuesday's finish. Zinc added 1.2 percent to $1,878 a tonne in official trading, lead gained 1.9 percent to $2,081 and nickel climbed 1.1 percent to $16,230.
Metal Prices at 1312 GMT Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T