METALS-Copper rises on weak dollar, China monetary easing hopes
* China exports fall for first time in 17 months
* Dollar dips, copper, world stocks rise
* Coming up: FOMC releases minutes from June meeting at 1800 GMT
LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - Copper rose on Wednesday as the dollar fell and weak Chinese data stoked hopes of monetary easing in the world's largest consumer of the industrial metal.
Copper initially fell after data showed China's exports fell 3.1 percent in June from a year earlier, the first decline since January 2012, while imports dropped 0.7 percent.
But the weak data sparked talk the People's Bank of China (PBoC) might ease policy to boost growth, which would lift demand for copper, used extensively in construction and power cables.
"The PBoC is likely weighing the benefits and costs of a benchmark rate cut, which we think may be increasingly likely given weak economic growth," Barclays economists said on Wednesday.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.8 percent at $6,784 a tonne by 1021 GMT, after falling as low as $6,685 a tonne, within reach of a three-year low of $6,602 hit on June 25. It closed at $6,730 per tonne on Tuesday.
World shares also rose on talk of monetary easing by Beijing.
"The market suddenly has latched on to the idea that China can cut its RRR," Natixis analyst Nic Brown said, referring to the required reserve ratio, or the amount of funds that a bank must hold in reserve against specified deposit liabilities.
Such a move would be consistent with an effort to maintain stable growth targets in the midst of a campaign to rein in China's shadow banking sector and bring it onto balance sheets, he said.
A weaker dollar also helped underpin copper prices, because it makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency more affordable for holders of other currencies.
The dollar fell against a basket of currencies before the minutes of the Federal Reserve's June meeting and a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke later on Wednesday.
The market will now be looking at China's second-quarter gross domestic product reading due next week. A slew of data this month is expected to show growth is grinding towards a 23-year low.
In other metals, aluminium was at $1,803 from $1,790, zinc was $1,884 from $1,869, lead was $2,053 from $2,037, tin was $19,500 from $19,305, and nickel was $13,525 from $13,325.