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METALS-LME copper down; U.S. payrolls data eyed

METALS-LME copper down; U.S. payrolls data eyed

* Copper down 0.4 pct on LME, down 0.5 pct on ShFE
* Investors cautious before U.S. jobs data
* World factory output slows
* Investors still fret about Europe’s handling of debt woes
* Coming Up: U.S. non-farm payrolls, Aug; 1230 GMT

(Updates prices, adds quotes and details) By Carrie Ho SHANGHAI, Sept 2 (Reuters) -

Copper prices fell on Friday, as weak equities and demand concerns triggered by lacklustre global factory output weighed on sentiment, while investors awaited key U.S. payrolls data for clues on the health of the world’s largest economy. Caution is likely to prevail before the U.S. August employment report is released at 1230 GMT. Non-farm payrolls are expected to have increased by 75,000, slowing from July’s 117,000 rise, according to a Reuters survey. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4 percent to $9,114.75 a tonne by 0700 GMT, after dropping 1.4 percent in the previous session. The most-active November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.5 percent to close at 67,830 yuan per tonne, after falling 0.3 percent on Thursday. It rose 0.6 percent for the week. “Copper trading is a bit directionless today ahead of the U.S. non-farm payrolls data. It seems to be tracking equities since no major developments in macroeconomics or fundamentals are steering it,” Shanghai Dongzheng futures trader Du Xiao Hua said. “Market opinion is divided on how the U.S. jobs data will turn out and how it will be interpreted. But I think it will lend some support to copper prices either way. Even if it turns out bad, it’ll just lead to more calls for a QE3,” he added. Asian shares dipped with investors largely sidelined before the payrolls report, the only jobs data due before the U.S. Federal Reserve holds a two-day meeting at which some market participants expect some sort of policy easing. “The U.S. non-farm payrolls numbers will be out later today and everyone’s a bit wary,” China Futures Co analyst Yang Jun said. Metal prices were also weighed down as weakened global factory output deepened concerns over demand prospects, while Europe’s handling of its debt woes dented sentiment too. World factory output slowed in August as worries about the euro zone and U.S. debt reduced confidence, heightening fears the global economy could sink back into recession. In Europe, politicians rejected an International Monetary Fund call for banks to raise up to 200 billion euros ($290 billion) in new capital, adding to fears that policymakers may be underestimating the severity of the debt crisis. However, data out of the United States showing unexpected growth in the manufacturing sector in August, fewer jobless claims last week and a slight rise in U.S. auto sales, helped keep a floor under prices. On the supply side, workers at the world’s No. 3 copper mine, Chile’s Collahuasi, have decided not to stage a threatened 24-hour stoppage after accepting a deal proposed by the mine’s operator, a union source said on Friday.

(Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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