KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 (Reuters) - London copper slipped on Thursday as gains in the past month kept Chinese buyers at bay and the euro zone debt crisis continued to weigh on sentiment, but upbeat global manufacturing data is expected to keep a floor under prices.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange inched down 0.4 percent to $8,410 a tonne by 0108 GMT, partly reversing gains from the previous session. The metal rose 9.5 percent in January, the biggest monthly increase in three.
The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.9 percent to 60,050 yuan ($9,500) a tonne.
Factory activity rose in China, the United States and Germany in January, and the three manufacturing superpowers drove gains in global output even as Europe struggles with fallout from its festering debt crisis.
Southern Copper is starting a new environmental impact study for its stalled $1 billion Tia Maria copper project in southern Peru, its chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday.
Falling copper inventories in LME warehouses in the United States could signal an improvement in industrial demand, but traders seeing flaccid appetite from top consumer China queried the bullish credentials of the indicator.
Copper miner Antofagasta aims to increase production by more than 9 percent this year, anticipating slower output growth after an almost 23 percent jump in 2011, when the miner topped its targeted range, thanks to the ramp up of its Esperanza mine.
Workers of one union at Teck Resources Ltd's Chilean Quebrada Blanca mine, which produced 86,200 tonnes of copper in 2010, ratified strike action after contract negotiations with the firm broke down, a union leader said late on Tuesday night.
The dollar lost ground against the euro and commodity currencies as risk sentiment improved after a batch of manufacturing data from China to Germany allayed the market's worst fears about global growth.
U.S. stocks extended January's rally on Wednesday after upbeat global manufacturing data boosted sentiment and as Greece neared a long-delayed deal with private creditors.
Greece's prime minister will call the country's political leaders in the next few days to seek backing for more austerity after the International Monetary Fund warned this was key to securing the new bailout Athens needs to avoid a messy default.
1330 U.S. Jobless claims Dec
U.S. Productivity report Q4
Base metals prices at 0108 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg
LME Cu 8410.00 -30.00 -0.36 10.66
SHFE CU FUT APR2 60050 550 +0.92 8.47
HG COPPER MAR2 382.20 -2.00 -0.52 11.23
LME Alum 2270.00 5.00 +0.22 12.38
SHFE AL FUT APR2 16270 55 +0.34 2.68
LME Zinc 2108.00 -23.00 -1.08 14.25
SHFE ZN FUT APR2 15875 100 +0.63 7.30
LME Nickel 20975.00 0.00 +0.00 12.11
LME Lead 2225.00 -10.00 -0.45 9.34
SHFE PB FUT 16130.00 135.00 +0.84 5.53
LME Tin 24155.00 0.00 +0.00 25.81
LME/Shanghai arb^ 2004
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
^ LME 3-month copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month
($1 = 6.3067 Chinese yuan)