* US Fed lowers U.S. growth forecasts
* Dollar bounces against euro after Fed press conference
* LME Detroit aluminum stockpiles down since May
* Coming up: U.S. jobless claims, new home sales Thursday (Rewrites, removes LONDON dateline/byline, adds U.S. Fed detail and graphic, updates prices)
By Chris Kelly
NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - Copper held in negative territory late Wednesday as the dollar bounced against the euro and the Federal Reserve cut its forecasts for U.S. economic growth but offered no indication of further monetary policy support.
"The overall tone of the statement is cautious ... there were not any suggestion on follow-through measures beyond QE2, apart from indicating that they will continue to monitor the outlook and financial developments," said Peter Buchanan, commodities analyst and senior economist at CIBC in Toronto.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy should grow 2.7 to 2.9 percent this year, a forecast that was marked down from a 3.1 to 3.3 percent projection released in April.
In New York, the key September COMEX contract HGU1 ended the session flat at $4.1070 per lb, but edged lower in after-hours trade after the Fed's downward growth revision.
"It's down on worries that the U.S. economy is going to remain sluggish for at least another quarter or two," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist with Lind-Waldock in Chicago.
London Metal Exchange (LME) benchmark copper CMCU3 ended the day down $60 at $9,020 a tonne.
Prices are down more than 10 percent from a record high of $10,190 set in mid-February.
As widely expected, the Fed said it will maintain interest rates at exceptionally low levels for an extended period. It also said the pace of U.S. economic recovery was proceeding more slowly than it had expected, though primarily due to temporary factors.
"The slower pace of recovery reflects in part factors that are likely to be temporary, including the damping effect of higher food and energy prices on consumer purchasing power and spending as well as supply-chain disruptions associated with the tragic events in Japan," the Fed said in a statement at the conclusion of a two-day meeting. [ID:nN1E75K22F]
Prices found temporary support from a union worker standoff at Chilean miner Codelco's giant Chuquicamata copper mine, but after a five-hour road blockade into the mine, the union decided to back down. [ID:nN1E75L0R8]
Volatility was at a high in the currency markets. The euro rallied and then surrendered its gains against the dollar as Bernanke said he believed U.S. growth will pick up going into 2012. [FRX/]
The fall in monthly Chinese copper imports is a result of drawdowns from stockpiles as high as 1.2 million tonnes that the world's top copper consumer has been building since the end of 2008, said Briggs of BNP Paribas. [ID:nL3E7HL1ID]
"Apparent consumption and local production points to Chinese demand actually falling in the first few months of the year, is simply not credible for an economy growing at 9 percent," he said. BNP Paribas expects copper prices to hit a new high of at least $11,000 a tonne in late 2011 or early 2012.
"We've been pleasantly surprised by a number of positive surprises and indications that what's happened over the last six months is probably a destocking phase which is now being followed by a restocking phase," said Nic Brown, head of commodity research at Natixis.
In other metals, aluminum CMAL3 closed up $8 on the day at $2,549 per tonne.
LME stocks of the metal continued to decline, particularly in Detroit where inventories have been in a downward trend since May. [MAL-USDET-TOT]
(Graphic: link.reuters.com/fyp32s )
"The fact that LME stocks are decreasing in aluminum could actually be bearish if it means that some of the metal locked in financing programs is beginning to roll out," Edward Meir, metals analyst with MF Global, warned in a daily market comment. Metal Prices at 1858 GMT COMEX copper in cents/lb, LME prices in $/T and SHFE prices in yuan/T Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2010 Ytd Pct
move COMEX Cu 408.80 -1.90 -0.46 444.70 -8.07 LME Alum 2545.00 4.00 +0.16 2470.00 3.04 LME Cu 9010.00 -70.00 -0.77 9600.00 -6.15 LME Lead 2544.00 84.00 +3.41 2550.00 -0.24 LME Nickel 22150.00 250.00 +1.14 24750.00 -10.51 LME Tin 25375.00 -75.00 -0.29 26900.00 -5.67 LME Zinc 2251.00 39.00 +1.76 2454.00 -8.27 SHFE Alu 17000.00 -10.00 -0.06 16840.00 0.95 SHFE Cu* 67440.00 -530.00 -0.78 71850.00 -6.14 SHFE Zin 17225.00 -30.00 -0.17 19475.00 -11.55 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07 (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in London; editing by Jim Marshall)