GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares grind up ahead of Fed minutes, euro off lows

Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:01am EDT

* China shares jump on easing talk, lifting Asian shares, copper

* Euro stabilises after sliding to 3-month low vs dollar

* Fed June meeting minutes in focus

* Dollar dips from 3-year high against basket of currencies

By Marc Jones

LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - World shares pushed to three-week highs on Wednesday as weak Chinese data sparked talk of monetary easing in Beijing, while the dollar dipped as markets awaited minutes from last month's Federal Reserve meeting.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 share index was up 0.1 percent by 0745 GMT and the euro edged off a three-month low as investors shrugged off falls in French and Dutch manufacturing data and a rating downgrade of Italy.

The focus was instead on the Fed minutes, due after the European market close, and on comments from an ECB policymaker on Tuesday that the bank plans to keep interest rates low for more than a year.

In Asia, Chinese shares had risen sharply with traders citing talks the central bank might ease policy to boost growth after the country's exports fell for the first time in 17 months.

"The market has a confidence at the moment thus sentiment is too positive to be upset by Italy's downgrade and China's trade data," Basil Petrides, trader at Hartmann Capital, said.

The dollar was hovering just below a three-year high but dipped against the yen on position squaring, with the near-term focus on whether the minutes of the Fed's June meeting and a speech by Chairman Ben Bernanke will give fresh ammunition to dollar bulls.

In debt markets, Italian government bonds saw a muted 6 basis points rise in yields and Spanish, Greek and Portuguese yields also edged up after Standard & Poor's downgraded Italy to BBB, on concerns over its economy.

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