Jan 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open higher on Wednesday, likely boosted by copper and iron ore miners on the back of stronger commodity prices, although gains may be capped by the energy sector amid falling crude prices. Prices of iron ore rose overnight as one of China's top steel making cities lifted a smog alert and commenced operation, stoking hope of higher demand for the commodity. Copper prices also amid falling inventories. The local share price index futures rose 7 points or 0.1%, a 55.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark rose 1.4% on Tuesday. Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.02% or 2.22 points in early trade. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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