NEW YORK/LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) - The volatile copper market ended up for the first time in seven sessions on Tuesday but stayed close to eight-month lows as a firmer tone in the euro helped offset uncertain economic and demand prospects.
Copper for July delivery HGN0 on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division rose 1.35 cents to finish at $2.7795 per lb, after dealing in a range from $2.7880 to $2.73. The low came within 1 cent of Monday's session trough of $2.72, a low dating back to early October 2009.
On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark copper for three-months delivery CMCU3 ended at $6,165 a tonne. It closed at $6,100 on Monday after touching an eight-month low of $6,037.50.
Copper prices have lost about 13 percent in the previous six sessions, slammed by concern over debt contagion in Europe, Chinese monetary tightening and poor U.S. data, including Friday's disappointing jobs numbers.
The six down days were the longest losing streak since a similar showing in December 2009 and a seven-day rout starting in early November 2008 in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse.
"Sentiment has turned quite bearish -- particularly with regard to Europe," said Daniel Smith, an analyst at Standard Chartered on sovereign debt.
That slide in sentiment was reinforced when Fitch Ratings said the UK was facing a "formidable" fiscal challenge and said Britain's public debt ratio had climbed more quickly than those of other top-rated sovereign credits.
"The UK warning is just another dagger into the industrial demand picture," said Frank McGhee, head precious metals trader with Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago.
Another concern for the market has been China, the world's top metals consumer, where a number of policy tightening measures have begun to seep into data, most recently last week's manufacturing data.
All eyes will be on May import data Thursday, which is expected to show arrivals of unwrought copper and semi-finished copper products fell slightly from April.
In other markets, the euro added to gains on Tuesday to riseabove $1.20 as investors continued to take profits a day after the currency hit its lowest level against the dollar since early 2006. [USD/]
A stronger euro makes metals cheaper for European investors.
Base metals demand has remained steady despite a recent dive in prices, the chief executive of Teck Resources (TCKb.TO), Canada's biggest base-metals miner, said on Tuesday.
"We don't think there's been any change in fundamental demand," Teck CEO Don Lindsay told the RBC Global Mining and Materials Conference in Toronto.
He said the economic fundamentals that have underscored the metal market's sharp rebound from the late 2008 crash are still in place, anchored by China's push for urbanization which has fueled demand for the copper, zinc, and metallurgical coal that Teck produces. "We wouldn't bet against China," he said.
LME copper stocks, which are seen as indicating demand trends, fell 900 tonnes to total 469,850 tonnes, the smallest supply since mid-December last year and down some 15 percent since a mid-February peak.
Among other industrial metals, aluminum CMAL3 ended at $1,920 a tonne from $1,867, with stocks of the metal used in transport and packaging falling 7,875 tonnes to 4.52 million tonnes.
Zinc CMZN3 closed up $106 at $1,734 a tonne, lead CMPB3 ended up $56 at $1,610, tin CMSN3 ended at $15,930 from $15,500 and nickel CMNI3 at $18,470 from $18,200.
In early trading, zinc and lead rose over 5 percent to peak at $1,735.75 and $1,635.75 respectively as analysts pointed to buying triggered by chart points rather than fundamentals.