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METALS-London copper holds ground ahead of Powell testimony

MELBOURNE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - London copper prices inched up on Tuesday, lifted in light trade by a weaker dollar ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's highly-anticipated first congressional testimony later in the day.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LONDON COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper had edged up 0.3 percent to $7131.50 a tonne by 0128 GMT, having finished up a touch in the previous session. Prices have been trading in a $7,000-$7,250 a tonne range since mid-month, slightly down from a four-year peak of $7,312.50 hit in December.

* SHANGHAI COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper eased by 0.3 percent to 53,290 yuan ($8,443) a tonne. Other metals, however, were all slightly higher reflecting a strong rally in Shanghai stocks.

* U.S. ECONOMY: Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell for a second straight month in January, weighed down by steep declines in the Northeast and South, which could raise concerns the housing market is losing momentum.

* EURO ZONE ECONOMY: Slack in the euro zone economy may be bigger than previously estimated and this could slow the rise of inflation but only temporarily and prices will eventually climb, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Monday.

* ALUMINIUM SPREADS: Nearby aluminum spreads are under intense pressure, reflecting a rush on short-dated supply. The cost to roll aluminum for a day surged to $11 three times in the past week, having hit the highest since November, 2016. <CMALT-O>

* ALUMINIUM PREMIUMS: Aluminium premiums have also climbed, spiking to 14.5 cents a tonne last week, the highest since April, 2015. Traders said there is a rush to import nearby metal in case the U.S. slaps a duty on imports of foreign made material.

* NICKEL: Two of Russia's richest men could trigger a complicated auction known as a "shootout" in a bid to end their long-running battle for control of mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel).

* EV RECYCLING: China will make manufacturers of electric vehicles (EV) responsible for setting up facilities to collect and recycle spent batteries, as part of its efforts to tackle mounting waste in the sector, say new rules published on Monday.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares extended their recovery on Tuesday, hitting a three-week high as U.S. borrowing costs eased ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's highly-anticipated first congressional testimony later in the day.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 0745 France consumer confidence Feb 0900 Euro zone Money supply growth Jan 1000 Euro zone Business climate Feb 1300 Germany Consumer prices Feb 1330 U.S. Durable goods Jan 1330 U.S. Advance goods trade balance Jan 1400 U.S. Monthly home price index Dec 1400 U.S. Case-Shiller housing index Dec 1500 U.S. Consumer confidence Feb 1500 Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the House Financial Services Committee PRICES

BASE METALS PRICES 0147 GMT Three month LME copper 7138.5 Most active ShFE copper 53320 Three month LME aluminum 2145 Most active ShFE aluminum 14230 Three month LME zinc 3533 Most active ShFE zinc 26680 Three month LME lead 2586 Most active ShFE lead 19515 Three month LME nickel 13875 Most active ShFE nickel 105020 Three month LME tin 21630 Most active ShFE tin 147910

BASE METALS ARBITRAGE

LME/SHFE COPPER LMESHFCUc3 1013.53 LME/SHFE ALUMINIUM LMESHFALc3 -1449.16 LME/SHFE ZINC LMESHFZNc3 329.54 LME/SHFE LEAD LMESHFPBc3 -224.34 LME/SHFE NICKEL LMESHFNIc3 1923.96

($1 = 6.3115 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton Editing by Joseph Radford)