December 21, 2017 / 5:35 AM / a year ago

METALS-London copper drifts from near two-month top

 (Adds comment, detail, updates prices)
    By Melanie Burton
    MELBOURNE, Dec 21 (Reuters) - London copper slipped on
Thursday from a near two-month high hit the session before on
year-end profit-taking, with prices supported by a softer dollar
and a sturdy demand outlook from China. 
    Chinese demand growth is expected to be slow but stable into
2018, while the pickup in global activity should support copper
demand, National Australia Bank said in a report.
    "Downside risks remain around China's property market
outlook, where lower population growth, tighter credit
conditions and weaker price growth could see real estate
investment growth slow," it said. 
    NAB expects a small market deficit in 2018, with prices
averaging $6,645 a tonne.
    * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper edged down by
0.1 percent to $7034 a tonne by 0517 GMT, as traders took
profits after prices jumped to the highest in nearly two months
at $7,070.50 on Wednesday, when prices closed up 1.5 pct. 
    * OPEN INTEREST: Open interest in all major LME contracts
has fallen this week, reflecting that traders are closing their
positions ahead of year-end and suggesting short-covering has
fuelled copper's gains back above $7,000 this week. MCU-OI-TOT
    * SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper
held a 1.1 percent advance at 54,240 yuan ($8,257) a tonne. Open
interest also fell. 
    * PREMIUMS: "Shanghai bonded copper premiums remain firm as
we head into year end, trading in a $70-$80 range. Traders
mentioned some tightness in terms of credit from domestic
Chinese banks which could slow down imports," broker Triland
said in a report.
    * U.S. ECONOMY: The Republican-controlled U.S. House of
Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to the biggest
overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, sending a sweeping
$1.5 trillion tax bill to President Donald Trump for his
    * STRIKES: Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc said on
Wednesday it had reached a new wage agreement with unionized
workers at its Centinela mine, defusing the risk of a strike
amid a volatile labor landscape in the world's top
copper-producing nation.
    * CHINA: China will deepen structural reforms and curb risks
to the country's financial system while maintaining steady
economic growth in 2018, the official Xinhua news agency said on
Wednesday, citing leaders at an economic planning meeting.

    * Coming Up: U.S. consumer confidence flash Dec at 1500 GMT 
 BASE METALS PRICES              0519 GMT         
 Three month LME copper                       7034
 Most active ShFE copper                     54230
 Three month LME aluminium                    2117
 Most active ShFE aluminium                  14645
 Three month LME zinc                       3211.5
 Most active ShFE zinc                       25395
 Three month LME lead                         2518
 Most active ShFE lead                       19075
 Three month LME nickel                      11985
 Most active ShFE nickel                     95700
 Three month LME tin                         19400
 Most active ShFE tin                       138060
 BASE METALS ARBITRAGE                            
 LME/SHFE COPPER             LMESHFCUc3     346.86
 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM          LMESHFALc3    -1494.7
 LME/SHFE ZINC               LMESHFZNc3     389.61
 LME/SHFE LEAD               LMESHFPBc3     -935.5
 LME/SHFE NICKEL             LMESHFNIc3    2369.24
($1 = 6.5688 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sunil Nair and
Subhranshu Sahu)
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