Base metals have closed mostly lower on the London Metal Exchange (LME), pressured by fresh concerns over global growth, and expected to remain relatively directionless until key economic data are released from China on Friday.

At the PM kerb close on Wednesday, LME three-month copper was 0.6 per cent lower at $US7,946/ton. Tin held up the best, ending the session 0.5 per cent higher at $US24,995/ton.

Weak Chinese direct foreign investment data combined with a cut to the World Bank's global economic growth forecasts to damp sentiment toward industrial metals Wednesday, said analysts and traders.

China attracted $US11.7 billion ($A11.12 billion) of foreign direct investment in December, down 4.5 per cent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Commerce said. For the full year, FDI fell 3.7 per cent to $US111.7 billion ($A106.19 billion), the first annual decline since 2009.

Meanwhile, the World Bank cut its forecast on global economic expansion this year to 2.4 per cent from three per cent in a report released late Tuesday.

The main event for base metal markets this week will be the release of China's fourth-quarter gross domestic product data on Friday.

Economic growth in China is particularly closely-watched by base metal investors, since China is the world's largest metals consumer.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires expect the country's gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.8 per cent in fourth quarter, up from 7.4 per cent in the third quarter.

Until then, base metals will likely drift in rather directionless trade, said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

On a technical basis, copper's recent losses leave the metal vulnerable to a move toward trend-line support at $US7,870/ton, he said. Technical resistance sits at $US8,280/ton, he added.

Prices in dollar a metric ton.

3 Months Metal Bid-Ask Change from

Tuesday PM kerb

Copper 7946.0-7947.0 Dn 47

Lead 2266.0-2267.0 Dn 24

Zinc 1979.0-1980.0 Dn 15

Aluminum 2045.0-2046.0 Dn 6.5

Nickel 17400.0-17405.0 Dn 95

Tin 24995.0-25000.0 Up 115

Aluminum Alloy 1820.0-1825.0 Dn 50

Aluminum Alloy-NASAAC 1865.0-1875.0 Dn 10