Dec 8 (Reuters) - Prices of copper, often considered a gauge of global economic health, advanced on Friday as data showing improved exports from top metals consumer China signalled better demand prospects for the commodity sector.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.4% at $8,378 per metric ton by 0329 GMT, while the most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange increased 0.6% to 67,950 yuan ($9,498.58) a ton.

On a weekly basis, LME copper is set for the first fall in four, as a stronger dollar made greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.

Copper is used in a variety of industries.

China's exports grew for the first time in six months in November, suggesting factories in the world's second-largest economy are attracting buyers through discount pricing to get over a prolonged slump in demand.

The country's November copper imports climbed 10.1% from the prior month to the highest in almost two years, as dwindling stocks and a stronger yuan bolstered buying interest.

The premium to import copper into China hovered around a one-year high level at $112.50 a ton, indicating rising demand to get the metal into China.

Both LME aluminium and LME zinc were on track for the biggest weekly decline since Oct. 6.

On the contrary, LME tin is set for the biggest weekly gain since July 7, up 4% week-on-week so far.

SHFE aluminium rose 0.2% to 18,465 yuan, nickel climbed 3% to 133,330 yuan, zinc advanced 0.7% to 20,710 yuan, tin rose 0.4% to 207,890 yuan, while lead 0.6% to 15,435 yuan.

LME aluminium increased 0.9% to $2,152.50 a ton, nickel rose 2.4% to $16,900, zinc climbed 1% to $2,429.50, lead advanced 0.4% to $2,026.50 and tin edged up 0.1% at $24,695.

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($1 = 7.1537 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)