LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Copper prices were set for a third consecutive weekly fall on Friday after weaker than expected Chinese industrial data dampened expectations of demand from the largest metals consumer. Official figures showed China’s November industrial output rose by the least in nearly three years. Euro zone data, meanwhile, showed growth in Europe had slowed. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) traded down 0.9 percent at $6,100 a tonne in official rings. It was 0.8 percent lower this week. The metal used in power and construction has fallen 16 percent this year, pushed lower by fears that China’s economy is cooling and a U.S.-China trade dispute could accelerate the slowdown. The Chinese data and a sharply stronger dollar were pressuring metals prices, said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann. A stronger dollar makes metals more expensive for buyers with other currencies and can curtail demand. “The (price) risks are to the downside because the Chinese economy will definitely cool,” Briesemann said. But he said that despite weaker Chinese growth, the fundamentals justified copper prices in a $6,500-$7,000 range. “Supply is lagging behind demand and the producers need higher prices to invest in new projects.” CHINA ECONOMY: The world’s second-largest economy has been losing momentum in recent quarters. China’s automobile sales also fell about 14 percent year-on-year in November, the steepest such drop in nearly seven years. EUROPE ECONOMY: Euro zone business expanded at the slowest pace in over four years as new order growth all but dried up. French business activity plunged unexpectedly into contraction. COPPER STOCKS: Copper inventories in LME-registered warehouses rose by 1,250 tonnes to 121,225 tonnes but remain near 10-year lows, signalling that supplies are tight. Stockpiles in Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses fell this week and are down from more than 300,000 tonnes in April. ALUMINIUM: China’s primary aluminium output rebounded in November after three straight months of decline. LME aluminium traded down 0.6 percent at $1,920.50 a tonne in official rings and down 1.8 percent this week.

STEEL: China’s crude steel output dropped to its lowest in seven months in November, hit by shrinking profit margins at mills and winter restrictions on emissions. Zinc and nickel are used in the steel industry.

OTHER METALS: LME zinc traded down 2 percent at $2,516 a tonne, nickel did not trade but was bid 0.4 percent lower at $10,810, lead traded 0.5 percent lower at $1,939 and tin was bid down 0.3 percent at $19,350. All were down slightly this week except for tin.