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METALS--London metals steady as traders await cues after Fed meeting

(Updates prices) MELBOURNE, Sept 19 (Reuters) - London metals traded little changed on Tuesday as traders are awaiting the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week for signs of the near-term direction for the dollar. "It feels as if the market has gone into a stand aside mode.. with the three months prices doing relatively little and looking for direction," said Kingdom Futures in a report. "Generally speaking this has been blamed on traders waiting to see the result of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting tomorrow... The reality is that prices need a catalyst to regain direction."

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was flat at $6,528 a tonne, as of 0709 GMT. Prices have been consolidating around $6,450 to $6,550 a tonne since falling to a four-week trough of $6,453 a tonne last week.

* ShFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper finished up 0.8 percent at 50,730 yuan ($7,702) a tonne.

* FOMC: The focus for this week is the Fed's Sept. 19 to 20 policy meeting. The Fed may announce a plan to start shrinking its balance sheet at the meeting, but is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged.

* CHINA PROPERTY: China's new home prices rose in August at the slowest pace in seven months and fell or leveled off in more cities as government cooling measures dampened speculation, though there were no signs of a sharper correction that could damage the economy.

* LME ZINC: London zinc steadied after rising 2.2 percent in the previous session. It earlier rose to its highest in more than a week at $3,123.50 a tonne. Among other LME

metals, nickel fell 2 percent and aluminum

climbed half a percent.

* ShFE ZINC: Shanghai zinc climbed 2.3 percent, largely tracking gains in London, while sister metal lead trimmed earlier gains to 2 percent.

* CHINA ZINC: Zinc prices have rallied on bets that steel makers may be able to pay more for their raw materials, given industry consolidation that has curbed overcapacity and pushed up profits.

* ZINC SUPPLY: Zinc prices have also heated up given expectations that tighter mine supply will impede production of refined metal. China's August zinc production fell 4.6 percent.

But several large mines have brought forward or raised

production, including MMG Ltd's Dugald River

operations in Australia. Canada's Teck Resources Ltd raised its production guidance for 2017 at its Red Dog zinc mine in Alaska to a range of 525,000 to 550,000 tonnes, up from 475,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

* PERU ZINC: Peru raised its zinc production by 7 percent in July. Peru is China's top zinc ore supplier with exports up by half on last year near 400,000 tonnes to July.

* COMING UP: U.S. Housing starts for Aug at 1230 GMT

PRICES Three month LME copper Most active ShFE copper Three month LME aluminum Most active ShFE aluminum Three month LME zinc Most active ShFE zinc Three month LME lead Most active ShFE lead Three month LME nickel Most active ShFE nickel Three month LME tin Most active ShFE tin

ARBS

($1 = 6.5862 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)