METALS-London copper steady; China post-hoiday buying underpins

SYDNEY, Feb 18 (Reuters) - London copper held steady on Tuesday, supported by a post-Lunar New Year pick up in Chinese demand, but was down from near two-week highs hit the session before as traders waited for fresh readings on the pulse of the global manufacturing sector.


* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was trading flat at $7,171.50 a tonne by 0131 GMT, after closing little changed in the previous session.

* Copper prices reached an 11-seesion peak of $7,206.50 a tonne on Monday.

* The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged down 0.10 percent to 50,950 yuan ($8,400) a tonne.

* U.S. markets will reopen on Tuesday after being closed for the Presidents' Day holiday on Monday.

* The Federal Reserve's stimulus taper and China's slowdown, twin factors behind this year's emerging market sell-off, will come firmly into view in the week ahead with minutes from the former and a leading survey on the latter.

* Aluminium producer Alcoa Inc said it would close its Point Henry smelter and two rolling mills in Australia, underscoring the dire market conditions facing producers amid a flood of new Chinese capacity.

* Global miner BHP Billiton topped market forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday, but held back from any big capital return to investors for at least another six months.

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* A string of disappointing U.S. data pinned the dollar near six-week lows against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, while Asian share markets held steady after notching up solid gains in recent sessions.


0200 China foreign direct investment

0900 Euro zone current account

0900 Euro zone net investment flows

1000 Germany ZEW economic sentiment

1330 U.S. New York Fed manufacturing

1500 U.S. NAHB housing market index


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 = 6.0641 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton)