* China exports fall for first time in 17 months
* Dollar dips against a basket of currencies
* Coming up: FOMC releases minutes from June meeting at 1800
By Susan Thomas and Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, July 10 Copper rose on Wednesday as the
dollar fell and weak Chinese data stoked hopes of monetary
easing in the world's largest consumer of the industrial metal.
Copper initially fell after data showed China's exports
shrank 3.1 percent in June from a year earlier, the first
decline since January 2012, while imports dropped 0.7 percent.
But the weak data sparked talk the People's Bank of China
(PBoC) might ease policy to boost growth, which would lift
demand for copper, used extensively in construction and power
China is the world's largest consumer of copper, accounting
for as much as 40 percent of global refined demand.
"The PBoC is likely weighing the benefits and costs of a
benchmark rate cut, which we think may be increasingly likely
given weak economic growth," Barclays economists said on
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange,
untraded at the close, was bid at $6,825, up from $6,730 per
tonne at the close on Tuesday.
"The market suddenly has latched on to the idea that China
can cut its RRR," Natixis analyst Nic Brown said, referring to
the required reserve ratio, or the amount of funds that a bank
must hold in reserve against specified deposit liabilities.
Such a move would be consistent with an effort to maintain
stable growth targets in the midst of a campaign to rein in
China's shadow banking sector, he said.
A weaker dollar also helped underpin copper prices, because
it makes commodities priced in the U.S. unit more affordable for
holders of other currencies.
The dollar fell against a basket of currencies ahead of the
minutes of the Federal Reserve's June meeting and a speech by
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke later on Wednesday.
The market will now be looking at China's second-quarter
gross domestic product reading due next week. A slew of data
this month is expected to show growth is grinding towards a
Some analysts expected base metal prices to steady this
month after falls experienced in the month of June.
"The markets have moved quite a bit lower over the course of
June and have likely priced in a good amount of the negative
news that has come our way over the past few weeks," said Ed
Meir, analyst at INTL FCStone.
"They are therefore due for a modest bounce from here."
In other metals, aluminium closed at $1,820 from
$1,790, zinc ended at $1,898 from $1,869, lead
closed at $2,072 from $2,037, tin ended at $19,550 from
Nickel was untraded at the close. It was bid at
$13,650 from $13,325 in the previous session.