METALS-London copper near 7-week low as Fed plans to reduce stimulus
SINGAPORE, June 20 (Reuters) - London copper fell to a near seven-week low on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signalled the central bank would likely start reducing its stimulus measures later this year.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.6 percent to $6,919 a tonne by 0104 GMT, its lowest since May 3.
* The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange eased 1.2 percent to 50,160 yuan a tonne.
* Bernanke said the Fed will continue to reduce the pace of purchases in measured steps through the first half of next year, ending purchases around mid-year if the Fed's economic forecasts are correct.
* The Fed bond buying program has largely supported commodities because it has lowered the value of the U.S. dollar, making goods priced in dollars cheaper for other currencies.
* The market will watch the HSBC Flash Chinese Manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) due at 0145 GMT for further evidence of slowing demand in the world's biggest copper consumer.
* Some fundamental issues have supported copper prices. The world's second-largest copper mine, Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc's Grasberg in Indonesia, remains closed five weeks after a training tunnel collapse killed 28 workers.
* A shortage of cash in top commodity consumer China is boosting imports of copper as a financing tool, resulting in premiums paid for spot refined metal supplies from overseas climbing to near four-year highs.
* But inventories of copper in warehouses monitored by the LME have been climbing, which has contributed to the metal's almost 13 percent fall so far this year.
* LME data showed stocks <MCUSTX-TOTAL> jumped 6,174 tonnes, reminding investors of an expected surplus this year.
* Aluminium inventories in LME-monitored warehouses have also surged this week, with data on Wednesday showing Detroit accepting almost 60,000 tonnes of the metal, setting a new record high for total stocks at 5.4 million tonnes.
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* Asian shares tracked the overnight drop in U.S. equities after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke confirmed market fears that the Fed would begin reducing its stimulus later this year.
0658 France Markit Mfg Flash PMI Jun 0728 Germany Markit Mfg Flash PMI Jun 0758 EZ Markit Mfg flash PMI Jun 1230 U.S. Jobless claims Weekly 1400 U.S. Philly Fed business indx Jun 1400 U.S. Exist. home sales % chg May 1400 U.S. Existing home sales May
Base metals prices at 0104 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 6919.00 -41.00 -0.59 -12.76 SHFE CU FUT OCT3 50160 -610 -1.20 -13.41 HG COPPER JUL3 3.12 -0.02 -0.68 -14.59 LME Alum 1827.00 -3.00 -0.16 -11.87 SHFE AL FUT OCT3 14435 -85 -0.59 -7.88 LME Zinc 1851.00 -10.00 -0.54 -11.01 SHFE ZN FUT OCT3 14465 -75 -0.52 -9.90 LME Nickel 14051.00 -149.00 -1.05 -17.64 LME Lead 2056.00 -10.00 -0.48 -11.76 LME Tin 20075.00 -25.00 -0.12 -14.21 LME/Shanghai arb^ -745
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Richard Pullin)