METALS-Copper steady as earnings season trims risk appetite
MELBOURNE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - London copper was steady on Wednesday as investors trimmed risk on the unfolding corporate earnings season, but prices were supported by hopes that Chinese trade data this week will show the world's top metals consumer extending its recovery.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange traded at $8,085 a tonne by 0105 GMT, almost unchanged from the previous session when it logged small gains of less than 0.2 percent.
* Prices have established a base above the $8,000 mark so far this year, recovering from lows near $7,500 a tonne in November. But they have eased from the year's peak at $8,256.50 hit last week, which was the highest since Oct. 18.
* The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange traded barely changed at 58,310 yuan ($9,400) a tonne.
* Unofficially kicking off the earnings season, Alcoa Inc , the largest aluminium producer in the United States, expressed cautious optimism that demand for the metal will continue to grow in 2013, helped in part by global growth in the aerospace and construction markets.
* Investors tend to scrutinize Alcoa's results to gauge overall economic health as the company's aluminium products are used in the automotive, appliance and airline industries.
* The Bank of Japan will consider easing monetary policy again this month as it eyes doubling its inflation target, sources say, as weakness in the economy threatens to delay the country in getting out of deflation.
* More evidence of sliding German exports and industry orders on Tuesday compounded concerns that the euro zone crisis may have battered the region's largest economy into contraction at the end of last year.
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* Asian shares inched up on Wednesday but the upside was limited as investors waited warily for the earnings season to begin in earnest, preferring in the meantime to book profits from a sharp rally at the start of the year.
* The yen continued to rise against the dollar and the euro in early Asian trading on Wednesday despite the expectations for further easing steps from the BOJ, as investors locked in gains.
DATA/EVENTS N/A - London Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee starts two-day meeting 0930 UK trade data for Nov < GBTBAL=ECI> 1100 Germany industrial output for Nov 1100 US Mortgage market index
Base metals prices at 0105 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8085.00 5.00 +0.06 1.97 SHFE CU FUT APR3 58310 10 +0.02 1.09 HG COPPER MAR3 367.65 0.45 +0.12 0.66 LME Alum 2067.00 -1.00 -0.05 -0.19 SHFE AL FUT MAR3 15260 20 +0.13 -0.55 LME Zinc 2027.00 7.00 +0.35 -1.77 SHFE ZN FUT APR3 15460 -85 -0.55 -0.55 LME Nickel 17330.00 5.00 +0.03 1.02 LME Lead 2325.00 -3.00 -0.13 -0.64 SHFE PB FUT 15100.00 -20.00 -0.13 -0.98 LME Tin 24150.00 0.00 +0.00 3.21 LME/Shanghai arb^ 715
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ($1 = 6.2241 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford)