METALS-Copper rises on Asia data, weak demand still a drag

* Official China PMI climbs above 50 level first time since July

* HSBC index highest since February, but still below 50

* Coming up: U.S. jobs data; 1215-1230 GMT

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Copper rose for a third day on Thursday, helped by data that showed a glimmer of recovery in big metals consumer China and other Asian economies, but gains were tempered by concerns about demand and Europe's grinding debt crisis. Data over the past month has shown the health of the global economy remains fragile, with retail sales and the housing market pointing to an improvement in the United States but Europe is still struggling. In China, the world's largest consumer of copper, official and private sector factory surveys showed the economy is regaining some traction, adding to other signs of economic revival in October. The modest improvement nudged three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange up 0.9 percent to $7,829 per tonne ``We've had the slightly better PMI data which is no doubt helping metals lift off the lows we had earlier this week,'' said Citi analyst David Wilson. ``The lows we saw on Tuesday were good buying points and the data is probably being a little more supportive, but obviously there is still a sense of caution.'' While the data out of Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia are all positive for metals, the complex has been wounded in recent weeks, RBC pointed out in a research note, and many investors are still on the sidelines after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to swathes of the United States. ``So ''sell the rally`` players are still likely to come in on any rally for the time being and the reduced liquidity will likely mean choppy trading conditions will persist for a few more days,'' RBC said.

WORRIES Another worry is that Chinese copper buyers have not been stocking up as most of them have not seen a sustained improvement in their order books. An executive with a top copper tube and pipe maker in central China said his company still has not seen a pick-up in sales despite October being the start of the peak season. ``Orders have been slow since July. Our customers have been unwilling to stock up until they've got clearer policy signals after the 18th Communist Party Congress,'' he said, referring to China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition event scheduled to start on Nov. 8. A report by the International Wrought Copper Council (IWCC) saying the global market for refined copper is expected to swing into a 281,000 tonne surplus in 2013 from a deficit this year, also dragged on prices. However, some of China's home appliance makers have reported third-quarter profits due to a reviving property market.

In other metals, three-month aluminium rose 0.9 percent to $1,923.50 per tonne from $1,906 at the close on Wednesday. ``We continue to see risks in this market for as long as high cost production is subsidized, and excess supply is absorbed into lucrative inventory financing deals and reiterate our concern that prices could test lower towards $1,870 in the near term,'' ANZ said in a research note. Some provincial governments in China are helping to cut power costs for energy-ins tensive aluminium smelters. Tin was up 1.13 percent at $20,150 per tonne, from $19,925 at the close on Wednesday while zinc was up 1.1 percent at $1,892 f r om $1,870. Lead was up 2.1 percent at $2,107 fr o m $2,068 and nickel was up 1 percent at $16,360 from $16,195.

Metal Prices at 1109 GMT Comex copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T

Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2011 Ytd Pct


COMEX Cu 355.15 3.40 +0.97 344.75 3.02 LME Alum 1923.25 17.25 +0.91 2020.00 -4.79 LME Cu 7826.25 66.75 +0.86 7600.00 2.98 LME Lead 2105.00 37.00 +1.79 2034.00 3.49 LME Nickel 16360.00 165.00 +1.02 18650.00 -12.28 LME Tin 20175.00 250.00 +1.25 19200.00 5.08 LME Zinc 1891.00 21.00 +1.12 1845.00 2.49 SHFE Alu 15335.00 -5.00 -0.03 15845.00 -3.22 SHFE Cu* 57070.00 250.00 +0.44 55360.00 3.09 SHFE Zin 14840.00 25.00 +0.17 14795.00 0.30 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN

SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07