* BHP's Escondida readies to restart despite strike
* Coming Up: FOMC Statement at 1800 GMT
* Coming Up: Fed chair holds press briefing at 1830 GMT
(Adds comment, detail, updates prices)
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, March 15 London copper marked time on
Wednesday ahead of the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting
that is expected to dictate the direction of the dollar, with
dissipating concerns over mine supply dragging on prices for the
The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to lift rates at a
meeting later on Wednesday. Traders were sidelined ahead of the
meeting which may cause volatility in the dollar.
In general, copper prices will find strong support around
$6,000 a tonne due to global supply shocks, said Argonaut
Securities in a report.
"We rather think any price consolidations provide BUY
opportunities in copper-related stocks," it said.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
edged up 0.1 percent to $5,826 a tonne by 0210 GMT, adding to
small gains from the previous session. Prices last week fell to
their lowest since Jan. 10 at $5,652 a tonne. Volumes were light
with less than 1000 lots of turnover in the benchmark contract.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper was trading up 0.5
percent at 47,590 yuan ($6,883) a tonne.
Analysts now expect a copper market deficit for 2017 after
prolonged disruptions at the world's two largest copper mines,
Grasberg in Indonesia, and Escondida, in Chile even as the
immediate disruption looks set to ease.
Escondida plans to restart operations after striking workers
again rejected an invitation by controlling owner BHP Billiton
, to return to negotiations, an executive told
reporters late Tuesday.
A strike at Peru's top copper mine, Cerro Verde, may end
next week if the labour ministry declares it illegal, the head
of the union said on Tuesday after negotiations with owner
Freeport-McMoRan Inc ended without an agreement on
Reflecting a tempering of investor appetite towards copper,
the total net long position of funds trading copper on the LME
fell to 56,653 lots on Friday from a net long position of 70,580
lots the previous week, LME data showed.
The demand outlook for metals was encouraging. China issued
a raft of upbeat data on Tuesday showing its economy got off to
a strong start to 2017, supported by strong bank lending, a
government infrastructure spree and a much-needed resurgence in
In other metals, LME tin slipped 1.2 percent, paring
a 2.7-percent surge on Tuesday. Nearby prices CMSNT-0 jumped
to a $7 premium for those rolling positions for a day, which is
likely to trigger more deliveries into LME warehouses.
Philippine lawmakers on Tuesday deferred a decision to
confirm or reject an ardent environmentalist as the country's
resources minister, stoking uncertainty over the outlook for
mining in the world's top nickel ore supplier.
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
($1 = 6.9141 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and