METALS-London copper falls on U.S. interest rate signal

SYDNEY, March 20 (Reuters) - London copper fell on Thursday but remained well above three-and-a-half year lows hit the session before, after the Federal Reserve chair signalled interest rates could rise next year, eroding support for liquidity friendly commodities.


* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange sank by 0.70 percent to $6,507 a tonne by 0143 GMT, paring 1.1 percent gains from the previous session.

* Copper prices plumbed a new three-and-a-half-year low at one point on Wednesday at $6,321 a tonne, before surging to the highest in more than a week at $6,584.50 on what traders said was large-scale short covering.

* The most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange pared overnight gains to trade at 45,410 yuan ($7,300) a tonne, still up 1.45 percent. It earlier hit its highest since March 12 at 46,500.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve will probably end its massive bond-buying program this fall, and could start raising interest rates around six months later, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday, in a comment which sent stocks and bonds tumbling.

* The slide in the yuan to near one-year lows has left it at critical levels for holders of an offshore derivatives product, exposing them to heavy losses that may fuel a further slide in the currency.

* Cash-strapped Chinese are scrambling to sell their luxury homes in Hong Kong, and some are knocking up to a fifth off the price for a quick sale, as a liquidity crunch looms on the mainland.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click , or


* The U.S. dollar was holding hefty gains in Asia on Thursday as investors wrestled with the risk that U.S. interest rates could rise sooner and faster than previously thought, pressuring stock and bond prices.


0700 Germany Producer prices

1230 U.S. Weekly initial jobless claims

1400 U.S. Existing home sales

1400 U.S. Leading index

1400 U.S. Philly Fed business 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 = 6.1965 Chinese Yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin)