METALS-Copper drifts ahead of Bernanke testimonial
SINGAPORE, July 17 (Reuters) - London copper eased on Wednesday, with traders waiting to see whether Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will reiterate later in the day that U.S. monetary policy is to stay accommodative.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had edged down 0.29 percent to $6,977.50 a tonne by 0102 GMT, paring gains of more than 1 percent from the previous session.
* Copper prices reached the highest in nearly 1 month at $7,049.25 a tonne on July 11, but have failed to find momentum above $7,000 as the seasonally slow summer period for demand gets underway.
* The most-traded November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.42 percent to 50,210 yuan ($8,200) a tonne.
* U.S. consumer prices picked up in June and underlying inflation pressures showed signs of stabilizing, keeping on course expectations the Fed will start reducing its bond purchases later this year.
* G20 policymakers meet this week at a sensitive time with the Fed intent on slowing, then exiting its bond-buying programme, and Beijing trying to rebalance the world's most dynamic economy.
* BHP Billiton said expansion of its iron ore operations in Australia was running ahead of schedule, as the miner posted a robust 9 percent rise in ore output to a record annual 187 million tonnes. At the majority owned Escondida mine in Chile, the world's single-largest lode, copper output rose 28 percent to 1.1 million tonnes in the 2013 fiscal year, the data showed.
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* Asian shares inched higher on Wednesday, while the dollar held a three-week low.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0200 China Foreign direct investment 1230 U.S. Building permits 1230 U.S. Housing starts 1400 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers semiannual testimony before Congress committee 1430 U.S. EIA weekly crude stocks 1800 U.S. Federal Reserve Beige Book
PRICES Base metals prices at 0102 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 6977.50 -20.50 -0.29 -12.00 SHFE CU FUT NOV3 50210 210 +0.42 -12.95 HG COPPER SEP3 3.17 -0.02 -0.64 -99.13 LME Alum 1813.00 -2.00 -0.11 -12.46 SHFE AL FUT OCT3 00 -14310 -100.00 -100.00 LME Zinc 1887.50 -0.50 -0.03 -8.53 SHFE ZN FUT OCT3 14690 -855 -5.50 -5.50 LME Nickel 13760.00 -10.00 -0.07 -19.79 LME Lead 2074.75 -0.25 -0.01 -11.34 SHFE PB FUT 0.00 -13875.00 -100.00 -100.00 LME Tin 19455.00 0.00 +0.00 -16.86 LME/Shanghai arb^ -280
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
($1 = 6.1350 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford)