* 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 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 Fed is expected to raise interest rates for the second
time in three months on Wednesday, encouraged by strong monthly
job gains and confidence that inflation is finally rising to its
Traders were sidelined ahead of the meet which may spark
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 0.2 percent to $5,831.50 a tonne by 0715 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 1,600 lots of
turnover in the benchmark contract.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper was trading up 0.7
percent at 47,670 yuan ($6,8945) 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 on 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
In news, Indonesia's Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara (AMNT) has
committed to invest $9.2 billion to expand its mining business,
including the construction of a new copper smelter near its mine
in Sumbawa, a mining ministry official told Reuters on
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,
reversing 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
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 = 6.9138 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Richard Pullin and