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METALS-London copper stems losses as funds step in

From Reuters - September 14, 2017

SYDNEY, Sept 15 (Reuters) - London copper firmed early on Friday, rebounding from overnight losses, as investment funds followed a flight into risk-averse investments like metals after North Korea ratcheted up geopolitical tensions with the firing of a missile over Japan.

We saw some immediate fund interest in copper, which is propping up the price, a commodities trader in Perth said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Copper had dropped to a four-week low on Thursday after some weaker-than-expected data from China pointed to slowing demand from the metals top consumer.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.1 percent to $6,510.25 a tonne by 0100 GMT.

* The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was 0.45 percent lower at 50,350 yuan ($7,684.68)a tonne.

* Copper has surged 28 percent from its May low to its 2017 peak of $6,970, hit on Sept. 5, on expectations of strong demand from China. * NORTH KOREA: North Korea fired a missile on Friday that flew over Japans northern island of Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean, South Korean and Japanese officials said, adding to tensions after Pyongyangs recent powerful nuclear test.

* CHINA DATA: Data released on Thursday showed slower-than-expected growth in investment, factory output and retail sales but a rebound in property sales and construction starts is likely to keep Chinas overall growth relatively robust and on target.

* COPPER STOCKS: On-warrant LME inventories - those not earmarked for delivery - rose 26,000 tonnes to 186,125 tonnes and are up 67 percent from a September low touched last week. MCUSTX-TOTAL

* FRAUD PROBE: U.S. prosecutors have charged a former senior precious metals trader at UBS Group AG with fraud and conspiracy over his alleged role in rigging prices.

* ALUMINIUM: Some Japanese aluminium buyers have agreed to pay a global producer a premium of $95 per tonne for shipments in the fourth quarter, reflecting lower spot premiums, two sources involved in the pricing talks said on Thursday.

* SHFE LEAD: ShFE lead rose by a further 1 percent to a fresh 3-1/2-week high after clocking up a 2 percent gain on Thursday and 3 percent on Wednesday. The contract is more than 25 percent since the lowest close of 2017 on May 19.

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MARKETS NEWS

* U.S. stock futures dipped and the yen rose after North Korea fired another missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, in a sign that Pyongyang remains defiant despite tightening international sanctions.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 0900Euro zoneEurostat tradeJul 0900Euro zoneLabour costsQ2 1230U.S.New York Fed manufacturingSep 1230U.S.Retail salesAug 1315U.S.Industrial outputAug 1400U.S.Business inventoriesJul 1400U.S.University of Michigan sentiment indexSep European Union finance ministers and central bank governors meet

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