* Any ECB inaction could trigger short-term sell-off
* LME nickel steadies after nearly 3 pct gains on Weds
* Coming up: EZ ECB Refinancing rate at 1145 GMT
(Adds comment, detail; updates prices)
SYDNEY, Sept 4 (Reuters) - London copper inched off its lowest in nearly two weeks as traders bet the European Central bank would ease policy to shore up its stuttering economy at a meeting later in the day, although that raised the risk that a lack of action could spark a short-term market sell-off.
The European Central Bank faces intense market pressure to take policy action on Thursday and risks losing credibility if it fails to back up a dovish message delivered by President Mario Draghi late last month.
More accommodative monetary policy would free up liquidity on hand for industry and investors, supporting metals prices.
"Draghi has made it clear he's waiting on further fiscal cooperation among euro zone members and he'd still like to see the effect of the last round of (easing) measures in July," said analyst Tim Radford of Sydney-based advisor Rivkin.
"My expectation is that the ECB won't make any big announcements tonight, which could create a short term sell-off across markets, including commodities," he said.
Euro zone business grew at the slowest rate this year in August and retail sales plummeted in July as escalating tension between Russia and Ukraine subdued spending and investment, surveys showed on Wednesday.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had inched up 0.3 percent to $6,924.50 a tonne by 0126 GMT, after falling 1 percent in the previous session when it reached a two-week low of $6,882 a tonne.
The most-traded November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.3 percent to 49,580 yuan($8,074) a tonne, paring losses from the overnight session.
Dimming copper's price prospects, mine supply bottlenecks are being cleared and are beginning to feed into the market.
Newmont Mining Corp has reached a tentative agreement with the Indonesian government on contract renegotiations, the CEO of the firm's local unit said, as both sides moved closer to ending an eight-month tax dispute that halted copper exports.
In other metals, LME nickel traded little changed at $19,060 a tonne, having climbed nearly 3 percent on Wednesday to the highest in a month after a Philippine senator proposed a ban on raw materials exports. A mining official later said the country was not ready for job losses of the scale Indonesia had seen, and should instead offer tax incentives.
New orders for U.S. factory goods posted a record gain in July and auto sales last month accelerated to their highest level in 8-1/2 years, offering further bullish signals for the economy.
A data deluge over the coming week is likely to show continued weakness in China's economy in August due to a slowdown in the property sector, which would increase pressure on the government to unveil more pro-growth policy steps.
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 US dollar = 6.1408 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin)