METALS-Copper pares losses, some see fresh 11-month low as bottom

* Copper set for steepest weekly drop since Nov 2015

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: (Updates with official prices)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – Copper rebounded on Friday from a fresh 11-month low, as some investors regard the recent sharp losses as exaggerated and believe the metal has hit bottom.

Copper, widely viewed as a bellwether for the global economy, has been battered amid escalating trade tensions that resulted in the United States imposing tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports and Beijing quickly retaliating.

The recent downtrend – which has seen copper shed 14 percent since touching a 4-1/2 year peak of $7,348 in early June – was fuelled by computer-driven speculators and long liquidation by Chinese hedge funds, said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, Partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

“Many people are wondering if the long-term bull market is over. I don’t think it’s over but copper has to hold above $6,200, which is the watershed level for the long-term uptrend,” he said.

“It doesn’t make any sense to have such a gloomy sentiment on metals demand. This is a good opportunity to go long again,” Torlizzi added, saying he had already taken a long position.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 2 percent to $6,221.50 a tonne, its lowest since July 25, 2017, before recovering to a bid of $6,328, down 0.3 percent, after failing to trade in official open outcry activity.

LME copper has shed nearly 5 percent this week, putting it on track for its steepest weekly drop since the week ended Nov. 20, 2015.

* ESCONDIDA: Supporting copper was news that negotiations between workers and BHP Billiton Plc at the Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, are “far from reaching agreement” with less than three weeks to go before the negotiation deadline.

* ZINC: LME zinc was bid up 1 percent at $2,727 a tonne in official rings, supported by a report from state Chinese research institute Antaike saying zinc production in China would decline to its lowest level since 2015 in the third quarter, according to a note by Commerzbank.

* NICKEL: LME nickel slipped 2.1 percent to a bid of $13,900 a tonne.

“Nickel remains the only long of the (LME) complex, however this has retreated to 7 percent of open interest on our estimates, down from the 33 percent peak in early-June,” Alastair Munro at broker Marex Spectron said in a note.

* ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium traded down 0.4 percent at $2,071 a tonne in official activity as Chinese alumina refiners cut production.

* PRICES: Lead was bid down 1.6 percent at $2,318 a tonne and tin shed 0.4 percent to trade at $19,330.

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($1 = 6.6525 Chinese yuan)

Additional reporting by Tom Daly in Beijing; Editing by Mark

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