* ECB says asset buying to run until end of 2017
* Copper initially boosted by strong Chinese import data (Updates with closing prices)
By Clara Denina
LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Copper edged lower on Thursday as the dollar rebounded after the European Central Bank’s decision to cut its monthly asset purchases but extend the programme until the end of 2017.
The ECB said it would trim asset purchases to 60 billion euros ($64 billion) per month from next April, from the current 80 billion euros, but ECB chief Mario Draghi said that should not be viewed as tapering. It also extended the purchases by an extra nine months.
This weighed on the euro and lifted the dollar, up 0.9 percent against a basket of six major currencies, making dollar-denominated LME metals more expensive to buy for holders of other currencies.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed 0.1 percent lower at $5,782 a tonne, reversing earlier gains.
The metal had been initially boosted by strong Chinese imports data, fuelled by the country’s thirst for commodities.
China’s imports rose 6.7 percent in November year-on-year, confounding expectations for a drop of 1.3 percent and the strongest gain since September 2014.
Imports of copper, used in plumbing and wiring, surged 31 percent.
Inventories on the LME showed a further 7,550-tonne fall in on-warrant copper stocks, the 15th consecutive session of declines. On-warrant inventories are not earmarked for delivery, hence available to investors.
Copper prices surged 20 percent last month. Momentum was driven by hopes that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would spend more on infrastructure and that Chinese economic activity and speculative spending would pick up.
“Fundamentals are constructive for base metals and there is still more than 5 percent growth in China, which is very strong and is still translating into a strong commodity spend,” ETF Securities head of commodity research Nitesh Shah said.
Further data from China in the coming weeks is expected to show the economy growing at a steady pace in November, according to a Reuters poll.
Three-month LME zinc closed 1.9 percent lower at$2,689. Zinc remains the best-performing metal this year, with a 72 percent rally, due to production cuts that drove heightened speculative interest. Lead closed down 1.6 percent at $2,284, tin closed 0.8 percent lower at $20,925 and nickel dropped 2.7 percent to $11,100 a tonne.
Aluminium, which did not trade at the close, bucked the trend and was bid up 1 percent to $1,723.50 a tonne.
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 ($1 = 6.8802 Chinese yuan) ($1 = 0.9415 euros) (Additional reporting by James Regan in Sydney; Editing by Adrian Croft and Susan Fenton)