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METALS-London copper edges up after Fed minutes

SYDNEY, April 10 (Reuters) - London copper edged up on Thursday, supported by the prospect U.S. interest rates may not rise as soon as previously thought, while investors were awaiting Chinese trade data to shed fresh light on demand in the world's top consumer.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed by 0.4 percent to $6,641 a tonne by 0105 GMT, paring losses from the previous session when it fell by 0.8 percent.

* The most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped by 0.5 percent to 46420 yuan ($7,500) a tonne.

* LME nickel reached a new one year high at $16,775 a tonne, supported by a ban on ore exports from Indonesia, and LME aluminium touched its highest in five months.

* Federal Reserve officials fretted last month that investors would overreact to policymakers' fresh forecasts on interest rates that appeared to map out a more aggressive cycle of rate hikes than was actually anticipated.

* China has less and less room to rely on policy tools to support the economy, the country's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday, as the government tries to arrest a protracted slowdown this year.

* Chinese iron ore and copper imports rebounded in March from the previous month, trade data is expected to show, as steel mills and fabricators boosted shipments to take advantage of prices that had sunk to multi-year lows.

* Producers of an alternative to refined nickel in China are expected to cut output as prices for ore imports have nearly doubled since end-February in the wake of a ban on shipments by top exporter Indonesia.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares look to extend recent solid gains on Thursday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting suggested the Fed may be more cautious towards raising interest rates than markets had thought.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0200 China Trade data March

0645 France Industrial output Feb

1230 U.S. Import prices March

1230 U.S. Export prices March

1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

1800 U.S. Federal budget March

PRICES

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 = 6.2005 Chinese Yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Ed Davies)