LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Copper steadied on Monday as the market continued to consolidate following strong gains in December and as a firmer dollar weighed, while aluminium hit a near two-week low amid growing stockpiles in China. The dollar rose against the euro, making dollar-priced metals costlier for non-U.S. investors, while world stocks were near all-time highs as the best start to a year in eight years showed little sign of abating. “We’re just pausing ahead of new data coming out from the mining industry. We still have new (copper) projects coming online (but ultimately) I see us pushing higher over course of 2018,” said Bernstein analyst Paul Gait. Copper speculators raised their net “long” or buy positions by 13,604 contracts to 113,124 contracts in the week to Jan. 2. In aluminium, Shanghai Futures Exchange stockpiles were at record highs, up some 660 percent since the start of last year. * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper edged up 0.1 percent to $7,126 a tonne by 1111 GMT, having hit its lowest in two weeks on Friday at $7,107. Prices on Dec. 28 topped out at $7,312.50 a tonne, the highest since January, 2014. * ALUMINIUM: Aluminium fell 0.2 percent to $2,199, having hit its lowest in nearly two weeks at $2,187. “Aluminium has lost around 3 percent (this year) as the market does not show any signs of tightening despite two months of heating season capacity cuts in northern China. Inventories continued to build in recent weeks,” said Julius Baer in a note. “We believe aluminium should remain well supplied (and) stick to our cautious view on aluminium and industrial metals. Without sounding too pessimistic about global growth, the likelihood of a slowdown is bigger than that of an acceleration.” * CHINA SCRAP: As China tightens restrictions on imports of foreign waste, Chinese metal recyclers and even smelters like Jiangxi Copper Co are increasingly looking to use Southeast Asian countries as an alternative location for the processing of copper scrap. * ZINC: Cash zinc traded at a $26 premium to the benchmark contract CMZN0-3, up from a $10 discount on Dec. 12, indicating continued nearby tightness. Zinc, used to galvanise steel, hit its highest in over a decade on Friday at $3,380. * STEEL: China has issued stricter rules on building new steel production capacity and will allow just one tonne of new capacity to be built for a minimum of 1.25 tonnes of old capacity closed in environmentally sensitive regions. * LEAD POSITIONS: A large “short” or sell position holder has emerged in lead futures, at 20-29 pct of outstanding positions for February, and 30-39 pct for March. Data also showed one entity holds 40-50 pct of lead “warrants” or ownership titles.  NICKEL, LEAD: Nickel cut early losses to trade up 0.4 percent at $12,580. The stainless steelmaking ingredient fell sharply overnight in Shanghai. Lead rallied 1.1 percent to $2,567.50.