GLOBAL MARKETS-Central bank support for growth lifts shares, commodities
* Europe's central banks set to echo unchanged move by Fed
* China official PMI comes in better than expected
* Dollar up from 6-wk lows as euro as sterling dip
* European shares start higher, commodity prices firm
LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - World shares and commodity prices rose on Thursday as signs of modest growth in the global economy played into expectations that major central banks will stick to policies aimed at supporting the recovery.
Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are likely to leave their loose policies unchanged after rate-setting meetings later in the day, after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday gave no hints of changes to its stimulus programme.
"I'd be very surprised if the Bank of England or the ECB did anything as far as radical changes are concerned," said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG.
The central bank policy decisions were set to dominate a day, which also sees a debt auction in Spain as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy answers questions in parliament about a corruption scandal.
The likelihood of continued support from the region's central banks grew after euro zone manufacturing data showed activity starting to pick up for the first time in two years during July.
The report follows the release of an official Chinese survey pointing to a small acceleration in its vast factory sector, although a rival report from HSBC was much more gloomy, showing activity fell to its lowest in nearly a year.
"On the manufacturing front, China delivered quite a mixed message. But in the European corner things are looking better, with signs of improvement in the beleaguered region," said Gekko Markets sales trader Anita Paluch.
The Chinese data lifted local stocks higher while in Tokyo Japan's Nikkei share average jumped 2.5 percent to post its biggest one-day gain in three weeks. Asian shares measured by MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index added 0.1 percent to be on track to snap a three-day losing run.
European stocks jumped 0.5 percent in early trade aided by a 1.2 rise in the banking sector after France's Societe Generale said its second-quarter earnings had more than doubled.
In currency markets, the likelihood of the ECB and Bank of England staying biased towards keeping rates low for some time undermined the euro and Britain's sterling, giving the dollar a lift.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback's performance against a basket of major currencies, last stood at 82.05 , about 0.75 percent above late U.S. levels. The euro had slipped 0.5 percent to trade around $1.3240.
The ECB is expected to hold off on adding any further stimulus following signs of a recovery across the recession-hit region but is seen standing by last month's guidance that rates will stay at 0.5 percent or lower for an "extended period".
The dollar was also getting support ahead of the U.S. payrolls report due on Friday as traders bet on a solid increase of in new jobs with perhaps a chance of an upside surprise after the separate survey showed private jobs rose 200,000 in July.
Meanwhile the prospect of easier monetary policy over the coming months as the global economy slowly recovers was supporting most commodities.
Brent crude prices briefly traded above $108 a barrel while gold added 0.3 percent to around $1,326 an ounce after a whippy session on Wednesday where it fell as low as $1,305.30. Copper prices rose 1 percent, extending a 2.2 percent bounce in the previous session.