MELBOURNE, Feb 26 (Reuters) - London metals climbed on Monday bolstered by reports over the weekend that base metal imports to China surged in January, underlining the country's healthy demand. "Downstream demand looks pretty healthy, there has been a little bit or a constraint on production of various processed products during winter," said UBS analyst Daniel Morgan. "I’m bullish copper and zinc," he said. FUNDAMENTALS: * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper rose by 0.6 percent to $7,138 a tonne by 0242 GMT, paring losses during the previous session. Shanghai Futures Exchange copper was down half a percent to 53,330 yuan ($8,442) a tonne. * China's imports of copper, nickel and zinc grew strongly in January. Copper imports rose 13 percent to 314,525 tonnes, refined nickel imports doubled to 26,691 tonnes and refined zinc imports surged to 67,111 tonnes, up 287 percent. * CHINA ECONOMY: Also bolstering demand projections, China's new home prices grew in January although major cities saw early signs of softening, as the government continued its efforts to rein in speculative demand to fend off bubble risk. * ALUMINIUM EXPORTS: China's semi-processed aluminium product exports rose to 395,301 tonnes in January, the highest since last June and the sixth-highest ever, according to Reuters calculations, as a premium for LME prices over Shanghai attracted metal out of the country. * PREMIUMS: A global aluminium producer has offered Japanese buyers a premium of $135 per tonne for primary metal shipments during the April to June quarter, up 31 percent from the current quarter. * ALUMINIUM SUPPLY: The main U.S. producer of high-purity aluminium used in military aircraft is poised to begin restarting idled production lines at its smelter in eastern Kentucky and rehire some 350 workers if President Donald Trump imposes aluminium import curbs. * INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in COMEX gold and copper contracts in the week to Feb. 20, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.