February 21, 2018 / 2:29 AM / a month ago

METALS-Copper slips as dollar holds firm ahead of Fed minutes

MANILA, Feb 21 (Reuters) - London copper futures edged lower on Wednesday as the dollar held near one-week highs versus a basket of currencies, with trading volumes in Asia staying lean as Chinese markets remained shut for the Lunar New Year break.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was off 0.2 percent at $7,079.50 a tonne by 0216 GMT.

* DOLLAR: The dollar stayed near Tuesday’s peak against a basket of currencies, which was its loftiest level in nearly a week, having pulled up from three-year lows set last week as traders trimmed bearish bets against the U.S. currency.

* FED MINUTES: The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its last policy meeting held in January later on Wednesday and some analysts say a hawkish tone could prod investors to price in a quicker pace of U.S. interest rate increases, and push the dollar higher.

* CHINA HOLIDAY: Chinese markets are set to reopen on Thursday after a week-long Spring Festival holiday.

* CHINA STEEL: China’s steel producers are eager to unleash their mills’ capacity when this winter’s output curbs end next month, hoping for a repeat of last year’s record profits based on high margins and less competition as outdated plants were closed.

* FORTESCUE: Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group reported a 44 percent drop in first-half profit, hit by weak prices for its lower quality iron ore, and paid a weaker dividend than expected, sending sent its shares down more than 4 percent.

* CHINA HANKING: China Hanking Holdings Ltd launched a takeover bid for Australia’s Primary Gold Ltd in line with a plan to build a long-term Australian gold business, valuing the target firm at A$37.5 million ($29.6 million).

* TENDER: Southern Copper Corp won a tender to develop Peru’s estimated $2 billion Michiquillay copper mine in an auction that attracted just two bidders, the government’s Proinversion investment agency said.

* UK STEEL: Britain’s steel industry is vulnerable despite recovering from a 2015 crisis, with many challenges that led to thousands of job cuts still not resolved and risks related to Brexit looming, the chief executive of Tata Steel UK said.

* OTHER METALS: LME aluminium rose 0.2 percent to $2,189.50 a tonne, zinc eased 0.1 percent to $3,546.50 and lead fell 0.9 percent to $2,575.


0800 France Markit manufacturing PMI flash Feb

0830 Germany Markit manufacturing PMI flash Feb

0900 Euro zone Markit manufacturing PMI flash Feb

1445 U.S. Markit manufacturing PMI flash Feb

1500 U.S. Existing home sales Jan

1900 Federal Reserve to release minutes from January meeting


Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; editing by Richard Pullin

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