METALS-Copper steady after Fed minutes, China data in focus
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - London copper took a breather on Thursday after minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting offered little clarity on the time scale for paring U.S. stimulus, while focus shifted to impending data on China's factory activity.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had inched up 0.30 percent to $7,262 a tonne by 0109 GMT, paring losses from the previous session when it fell by 1.1 percent
* The most-traded December copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 0.48 percent to 52,140 yuan ($8,500) a tonne.
* A few Fed officials thought last month it would soon be time to slow the pace of their bond buying "somewhat" but others counselled patience, according to the minutes.
* China is already building, or has approved, more than half of a $100 billion network of high-voltage power lines to connect remote energy producing regions to the east coast, a top official at the state grid firm told Reuters.
* Mining firms are wooing investors with aggressive cuts after years of profligate spending, but BHP Billiton says the greater challenge will be improving productivity, if major producers are to ride an eventual recovery.
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* Asian markets took a spill on Thursday after the Fed minutes, while the dollar edged higher versus the yen and euro.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0145 China HSBC Manufacturing Flash PMI 0658 France Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI 0728 Germany Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI 0758 Euro zone Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI 1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 1258 U.S. Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI 1300 U.S. FHFA home price index 1400 U.S. Leading indicators
PRICES Base metals prices at 0109 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 7262.00 22.00 +0.30 -8.41 SHFE CU FUT DEC3 52140 -250 -0.48 -9.60 HG COPPER SEP3 3.30 0.00 -0.09 -99.10 LME Alum 1896.50 -0.50 -0.03 -8.43 SHFE AL FUT DEC3 14390 -35 -0.24 -6.22 LME Zinc 1963.00 -4.00 -0.20 -4.87 SHFE ZN FUT DEC3 14965 -580 -3.73 -3.73 LME Nickel 14430.00 5.00 +0.03 -15.88 LME Lead 2215.00 2.00 +0.09 -5.34 SHFE PB FUT 14675.00 -95.00 -0.64 -3.77 LME Tin 21790.00 -10.00 -0.05 -6.88 LME/Shanghai arb^ -237
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months third month
($1 = 6.1234 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton)