METALS-London copper snaps 6 days of losses, but China weighs
* China Feb HSBC flash PMI eases from two-year high
* LME copper may rebound to $7,926/T - technicals
* Coming up: U.S. Dallas Fed manufacturing index; 1530 GMT
(Adds details, comments; updates prices) SINGAPORE, Feb 25 (Reuters) - London copper rose on Monday after a six-day losing streak, but prices came off highs after data showed China's manufacturing activity slowed in February, casting doubt on the demand outlook of the world's biggest copper consumer. Shanghai copper fell to a two-month low, tracking Friday's fall in London copper to its lowest since end of 2012, and hurt Traders expect physical purchases to pick up from this week as China's manufacturing sector returns to work after the Lunar New Year break, but the seasonal upturn in demand may not necessarily push prices much higher. "Copper has lost its appeal as one of the most important commodities in China's urbanisation process, as the government no longer sees property development as the core of urbanisation," said Zhu Bin, an analyst at Nanhua Futures in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. Zhu expected copper to return to $7,500, last November's low. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had risen half a percent to $7,846 a tonne by 0410 GMT, after posting a weekly loss of nearly 5 percent, its sharpest since mid-December, 2011. The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.8 percent to 57,230 yuan a tonne. It dropped to a two-month low of 57,090 yuan earlier. Technical analysis suggested LME copper might rebound to $7,926 a tonne, while Shanghai copper could rise to 57,780 yuan during the day, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Investors are focusing on the testimony of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in front of the Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well a speech on Friday, to seek clues on the Fed's attitude towards its ultra-loose monetary policy.
The looming U.S. fiscal crisis is also keeping investors on edge, as the world's top economy faces automatic cuts in most government programmes on March 1 if Washington can't come up with a budget deal. Shanghai's spot copper traded at an average discount of 140 yuan to London prices, even though the period after the Lunar New Year holiday is typically a busy season for copper market. "We should be able to see some trend in physical consumption this week," said a Shanghai-based trader. "The price is attractive, but buyers now are inclined to buy small orders rather than large ones. Supporting the sentiment, BlackRock Inc.'s has won an approval from U.S. securities regulator to list and trade its copper exchange-traded fund. But the global copper market is expected to tip into a surplus this year as a result of production expansion by copper producers and a still lacklustre recovery in the global economy. LME copper stocks rose to 424,350 tonnes on Feb 21, the highest level since end of October, 2011. <MCUSTX-TOTAL>
Base metals prices at 0410 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 7846.00 41.00 +0.53 -1.05 SHFE CU FUT JUN3 57230 -490 -0.85 -1.28 HG COPPER MAR3 354.30 1.00 +0.28 -3.00 LME Alum 2046.25 -1.75 -0.09 -1.20 SHFE AL FUT MAY3 14830 -120 -0.80 -3.36 LME Zinc 2091.00 3.00 +0.14 1.33 SHFE ZN FUT MAY3 15550 05 +0.03 0.03 LME Nickel 16915.00 -25.00 -0.15 -1.40 LME Lead 2306.00 2.00 +0.09 -1.45 SHFE PB FUT 15160.00 -50.00 -0.33 -0.59 LME Tin 23150.00 45.00 +0.19 -1.07 LME/Shanghai arb^ 21
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
(Editing by Richard Pullin)