LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Copper rose on Thursday, due to strong Chinese imports data, fuelled by the country’s thirst for commodities, and as the dollar remained under pressure after the European Central Bank cut its asset purchases from next April. China’s November imports expanded 6.7 percent on-year, confounding expectations for a drop of 1.3 percent and the strongest gain since September 2014. China’s imports of copper, used in plumbing and wiring, surged 31 percent in November. It also imported 91.98 million tonnes of iron ore, the third highest monthly tally on record. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.9 percent to $5,836 a tonne in official trading, reversing losses from the previous session. 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. “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 Nitesh Shah said. However, the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 1.5 percent to 47,210 yuan ($6,862) a tonne, with traders attributing the modest retreat to profit-taking and a switch to equities. The dollar was down 0.1 percent against a basket of six major currencies, while the euro steadied after the ECB unexpectedly cut its asset purchases to 60 billion euros per month from next April from the current 80 billion euros. Investors had expected a six month extension at a steady pace of 80 billion euros per month. A lower dollar makes dollar-denominated LME metals cheaper to buy for holders of other currencies. . 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. 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, which did not trade in official rings, was bid 0.9 percent higher at $2,765. , with a 72-percent surge, due to production cuts that drove heightened speculative interest. Aluminium traded 0.9 percent higher to $1,723.50 a tonne in official rings and tin traded 1.4 percent higher at $21,395. Nickel traded $20 higher at $11,430.
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