METALS-LME copper holds below 4-month top ahead of ECB meet
SINGAPORE, Feb 7 (Reuters) - London copper steadied below a four-month high on Thursday as investors waited for the outcome of a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day with liquidity thin ahead of a week-long holiday in China.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $8,243 a tonne by 0125 GMT, below a four-month high of $8,346 reached on Monday.
* The most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell half a percent to 59,610 yuan ($9,600) a tonne.
* ECB President Mario Draghi faces grilling over the ECB's sensitivity to the euro's sharp rise and his connection to an Italian banking scandal at a monthly meeting later on Thursday when the central bank is expected to hold interest rates unchanged. Investors will also gauge how much further the euro must rise before its strength forces the ECB to express concern.
* Trading volumes were thin so far and were likely to remain low for the rest of the day with trading activity in top copper consumer China waning ahead of next week's Spring Festival holiday.
* Investors were also awaiting China's trade numbers on Friday. Copper imports could recover slightly in January after falling in December although near-record stocks in Shanghai will keep any increase modest.
* China needs to pay special attention to consumer prices with controlling inflation a priority, the central bank said on in a turnaround from its previous focus of supporting economic growth.
* Chile's Collahuasi , the world's No. 3 copper mine, said its mineral resources grew 19 percent to 9 billion tonnes last year, due in part to new drilling campaigns and improvements in mining design.
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* The euro drifted lower, while the sterling wallowed at multi-month lows as cautious investors waited for the outcomes of central bank policy meetings in Europe and Britain.
* Asian shares marked time ahead of the ECB meeting and remarks from Draghi on prospects for the euro zone economy.
0530 India 2011/12 GDP 0745 France Trade data 1100 Germany Industrial output 1200 Britain BOE rate decision 1245 Euro zone ECB rate decision
1330 ECB President Mario Draghi gives news conference
1330 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 2000 U.S. Consumer credit N/A EU Summit in Brussels
Base metals prices at 0125 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8243.00 -2.00 -0.02 3.96 SHFE CU FUT MAY3 59610 -280 -0.47 3.35 HG COPPER MAR3 374.70 0.65 +0.17 2.59 LME Alum 2100.00 2.00 +0.10 1.40 SHFE AL FUT MAY3 15200 -55 -0.36 -0.94 LME Zinc 2160.00 -10.00 -0.46 4.68 SHFE ZN FUT MAY3 15885 340 +2.19 2.19 LME Nickel 18300.00 -20.00 -0.11 6.67 LME Lead 2417.00 -5.00 -0.21 3.29 SHFE PB FUT 15270.00 -160.00 -1.04 0.13 LME Tin 24850.00 0.00 +0.00 6.20 LME/Shanghai arb^ 679
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ($1 = 6.2317 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Himani Sarkar)