BEIJING, June 7 (Reuters) - London copper prices rose to a
2018 high on Thursday, gaining ground for a sixth session on
concerns over disruption at the Escondida mine in Chile.
    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange hit
$7,287 a tonne, its highest since Dec. 29, 2017, and was trading
at $7,276 at 0707 GMT. It is up 6.3 percent so far this month. 
    Investors "continue to fret about potential supply-side
disruptions" after union leaders at Escondida, which is operated
by BHP, submitted wage demands, sparking fears
of a possible strike, ANZ wrote in a note.
    A weaker dollar index, which makes dollar-denominated
metals cheaper for holders of other currencies, also lent
support to prices.
    * SHFE COPPER: The most-traded July copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange rose for a fifth straight
session, ending 2.2 percent higher at 53,930 yuan ($8,440.41) a
tonne, its highest close since Feb. 27. 
    * PREMIUMS: China copper premiums CU-BPCIF-SHMET have held
steady at $77.5 a tonne over the past month, indicating there
has been no heightened shortage of physical metal in the world's
top copper consumer.
    * POSITIONS: Long positions among futures brokerages in the
July ShFE copper contract increased by 2,220 lots on Thursday,
while short positions were up by 1,262 lots for July and 12,277
lots for August.
    * ALUMINIUM: Shanghai aluminium ended up 1.9
percent at 15,020 yuan a tonne, its highest close since April
23. London aluminium recovered from an early dip to
trade 0.2 percent higher.
    * LME CONTRACTS: The London Metal Exchange (LME) plans to
launch around 15 new contracts next January, including
cash-settled cobalt and hot-rolled coil steel contracts, an
executive said on Wednesday.
    * SCOTIA: Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
is limiting lending by its ScotiaMocatta metals unit as it
embarks on a radical restructuring likely to halve the size of
the business, sources familiar with the matter said.

    * CHILE: Chile's finance minister on Wednesday described as
"imprudent" the appointment by lithium miner SQM of its
former Chairman Julio Ponce as a strategic adviser, in light of
an agreement with the state that he distance himself from the
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