METALS-London copper hits two-week lows; caution on Fed stimulus drags
* Copper seen easing to $7,000 on slowing China growth -UOB Kay Hian
* Dollar near 7-week highs; drags on metals
* Coming Up: ECB meeting, interest rate announcement at 1245 GMT
(Adds analyst comment, detail; updates prices)
SYDNEY, Jan 9 (Reuters) - London copper fell to two-week lows on Thursday after a brightening economic picture in the United States raised prospects of a more aggressive scaling back of stimulus by the Federal Reserve, eroding support for commodities.
Copper prices broke a four-month trading range to step above $7,400 a tonne in late December, but momentum has spluttered since on expectations the U.S. will draw back stimulus and on moderating growth in China, the top consumer of metals.
"The dollar will continue to strengthen because of U.S tapering, and China's economic growth is slowing down," said analyst Helen Lau, a senior commodities analyst with UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.
"I'm a bear on copper prices - I think $7,000 is a more sustainable level," she said.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.93 percent to $7,275.50 a tonne by 0717 GMT, after ending the previous session little changed. Prices earlier dropped to $7,259 a tonne, the lowest since Dec. 24.
The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 1.41 to end the session at 51,220 yuan ($8,500) a tonne.
The dollar hovered at seven-week highs against a basket of major currencies early on Thursday, having risen for a second session after an upbeat private-sector jobs report.
A stronger dollar makes commodities, priced in the U.S. unit, less affordable for holders of other currencies.
The report from a payrolls processor showed U.S. private employers hired staff at the fastest pace in 13 months in December. That raised expectations that national jobs data on Friday will confirm the U.S. economy is gathering steam, making room for a stronger pullback on economic stimulus by the Fed.
Copper prices had earlier been finding support from falling exchange stocks and the possibility Indonesia may ban exports of copper concentrate, Lau said, which could have erased a small market surplus seen this year.
But since Indonesia opened the door on Wednesday for large copper miners to possibly continue exports, this may have removed some support for copper prices, she added.
Indonesia's mining ministry sought to ease a controversial mineral export ban before its Sunday deadline, but still looked set to prohibit more than $2 billion worth of annual nickel ore and bauxite shipments.
Under the proposed regulations, miners such as U.S. giants Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Newmont Mining Corp would still be allowed to export copper, manganese, lead, zinc, and iron ore concentrate until 2017.
In other news, the northern Chilean port of Angamos resumed operations on Wednesday after striking workers returned to their jobs, but unions at some southern ports went on strike to protest what they called police repression, according to a port operator and union.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Three month LME tin
($1 = 6.0512 Chinese yuan)
(Editing by Richard Pullin, Tom Hogue and Sunil Nair)