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*Fresh conflict in Syria supports prices. CHENNAI, India, May 21- Brent crude futures steadied near a two-week high on Tuesday, holding around $105 per barrel as rising Middle East tensions offset concerns about moderating demand growth to keep prices in a tight range.
*MSCI Asia Pacific ex- Japan slips 0.2 percent. The dollar inched higher versus a basket of currencies on Tuesday but stayed below a three-year high, as investors ponder if Bernanke might reveal the timing of any wind-down at his appearance before the Joint Economic Committee before Congress takes its Memorial Day recess.
SINGAPORE, May 21- London copper recouped early losses on Tuesday, underpinned by confidence in the U.S. economy, although gains were kept in check ahead of a slew of factory data this week that may point to softer global growth.
*Fresh conflict in Syria supports prices. Reports of fresh skirmishes in Syria suggest the civil conflict is at this year's peak, triggering fears it may spread to neighbouring key oil producers, while a weakening dollar added to the support.
SINGAPORE, May 21- London copper edged lower on Tuesday as traders focused on slowing demand growth in top consumer China against a background of a flagging global economy and ahead of key factory figures this week. *The most-traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.87 percent to 53,100 yuan a tonne.
SINGAPORE, May 21- Gold drifted lower for an eighth session out of nine on Tuesday on outflows from exchange-traded funds and as the dollar firmed, putting more pressure on bullion which has already lost nearly a fifth of its value this year. *Spot gold had fallen 0.4 percent to $1,387.86 an ounce by 0042 GMT.
*MSCI Asia Pacific ex- Japan eases 0.1 percent. The market's focus is shifting to Bernanke's testimony to Congress on Wednesday after recent comments by Fed officials fuelled speculation the U.S. central bank may trim its bond purchases sooner than expected.
*Gold also shoots up from 1- month low and 7 days of losses. NEW YORK/ LONDON, May 20- Gold and silver prices gained about two percent on Monday after a roller-coaster session that opened with a gut-wrenching dive in silver prices to their lowest in 2-1/ 2 years before an abrupt midday turnaround.
*Corn sags on expectations of record planting report. *Wheat prices the lowest since April 3. CHICAGO, May 20- U.S. grain and soybean futures traded mostly lower on Monday, pressured by a pickup in planting around the U.S.
HONG KONG, May 20- Goldman Sachs Group Inc launched the sale of about $1.1 billion worth of Hong Kong- traded shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on Monday, offering its entire remaining stake in the world's biggest bank by market value. The sale would be the final chapter in Goldman's investment alongside clients and employees in China's ICBC.
LONDON, May 20- U.S. corn futures were lower for new crop contracts on Monday, weighed by a pick-up in planting progress in the United States, while tight supplies boosted old crop prices.
Goldman Sachs is selling about $1.1 billion worth of Hong Kong-traded shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's biggest bank.
*Investors eye China, Europe flash PMIs on Thursday. LONDON, May 20- Copper fell on Monday after two sessions of gains as lacklustre global growth and sluggish Chinese metals demand weighed on markets and as investors continued to favour equities over commodities.
LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 20- If you ever needed an example of the corporate herd mentality, then look no further than the stampede of cost-cutting among commodity producers started by BHP Billiton.
*MSCI Asia Pacific ex- Japan rises 0.9 percent. SINGAPORE, May 20- The yen edged higher on Monday after Japan's economics minister said further weakness in the yen could harm households, while Asian shares rose in response to U.S. equities rallying on upbeat economic data.
SINGAPORE, May 20- London copper slipped on Monday after a jump in U.S. consumer confidence raised prospects the country could begin trimming its bond-buying program, eroding metals' allure for investors, against a backdrop of slowing growth in top consumer China.
*Asian shares firmer after Friday's Wall Street rally. SINGAPORE, May 20- The yen pulled up from a 4-1/ 2 year low against the dollar on Monday after Japan's economics minister said a further steady drop in the yen could have negative effects on households, pushing the dollar to a low of 102.00.
*Pilot scheme in Jakarta triggered overcrowding at hospitals. JAKARTA, May 20- When a sick Indonesian baby died after 10 hospitals in Jakarta turned her family away in February, critics blamed a pilot health insurance scheme that had overwhelmed the city's public hospitals.
QIANTUN, China, May 19- Two years short of 70, Zhang Guosheng spends his days caring for an 81- year-old fellow villager- washing his clothes, bringing meals to his bed, and keeping him company- a routine he'll keep up until he himself needs the type of care he is now giving.
NEW YORK/ LONDON, May 17- Gold fell for a seventh straight session on Friday, its longest losing streak in four years, as the dollar rose to the highest since 2008 after some Federal Reserve officials said the central bank should end its stimulus for the U.S. economy.