LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Copper rose on Thursday as robust performance by China’s industrial sector helped to lift the biggest metal consumer’s economic growth in the fourth quarter. Benchmark copper rose 0.8 percent to $7,090.50 a tonne by 1146 GMT after the metal used in power and construction touched a four-week low in the previous session. “China’s construction markets and industry have held up better than people thought,” said Oxford Economics commodities analyst Dan Smith. “A few months ago the data for construction was quite poor, but that has improved recently and those are the kinds of things that are important for a boost in copper.” CHINA GDP: China’s economy grew faster than expected in the fourth quarter, helped by a rebound in the industrial sector, a resilient property market and strong export growth. HOME PRICES: China’s housing market picked up slightly in December, but price growth more than halved in 2017 as government curbs on speculation took effect. U.S. INDUSTRIAL DATA: U.S. industrial production increased more than expected in December but manufacturing output barely rose, pointing to moderate growth in the sector. COPPER BOOST: Chile’s state copper commission, Cochilco, on Wednesday raised its estimated 2018 average price for the metal to $3.06 per pound from its previous forecast of $2.95, pointing to the potential for global supply disruptions this year. TECHNICALS: The $7,000/$7,005 area should provide decent support and a break below that would open up a likely test of $6,900, said Marex Spectron’s Alastair Munro. “Expect some resistance into $7,117 then $7,145 on an intra-day basis,” he said. BHP: Copper output at BHP jumped 20 percent to 429,000 tonnes in the three months to Dec. 31, helped by a rise in production at its Escondida mine in Chile. FORCE MAJEURE: The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia’s southern Gobi Desert declared force majeure after protests by Chinese coal haulers disrupted deliveries near the border, majority owner Turquoise Hill said on Wednesday. ALUMINIUM OUTPUT: China’s primary aluminium production rebounded in December after five months of decline despite winter output restrictions imposed on smelters, helping to lift total 2017 output to record levels.

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