By James Regan
SYDNEY, June 9 (Reuters) - Copper firmed on Friday, helped by supply concerns in Chile and recent data pointing to robust import demand from China, with the Shanghai futures contract hitting a two-week high.
A fall in inventories both on the London Metal Exchange and the Shanghai Futures Exchange also helped support prices, traders said. * COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged up 0.02 percent to $5,741 a tonne by 0724 GMT, extending an overnight gain that saw the metal at its highest in a week. * SHANGHAI: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 1.91 percent to 45,930 yuan ($6,757)a tonne, the highest since May 26.
* INVENTORIES: Copper stocks in LME warehouses MCU-STOCKS fell 7,875 tonnes on Wednesday to 286,350 tonnes, continuing their retreat from early May's seven-month high. They have declined almost 20 percent from that peak. * STRONG CHINA DATA: China reported stronger-than-anticipated exports and imports for May on Thursday, despite falling commodity prices, suggesting the economy is holding up better than expected despite rising lending rates and a cooling property market. * COPPER RESTART: Chilean copper company Codelco has restarted operations at mines in the northern part of the country after a rain storm caused a series of precautionary closures. * ZINC RISES: ShFE zinc ended 2.47 percent higher, while LME zinc was up 0.6 percent to $2,480 a tonne * NICKEL: LME nickel was quoted 0.02 percent higher at $8,835 a tonne. ShFE nickel closed 0.05 percent firmer.
LME aluminium slipped 0.06 percent to $1,890 a tonne. ShFE aluminium closed 1 percent lower at 13,645 yuan.
The declines came amid signs of rising supply after Alcoa said it had restarted half the capacity at its 300,000-tonnes-per-year Portland aluminium smelter in Australia crippled by a blackout half a year ago.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
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 ($1 = 6.7972 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin and Sunil Nair