* Firmer dollar weighs on LME metals complex
* Copper market seen in 9,000 T deficit in Nov 2016 -ICSG
* Coming Up: Germany Detailed GDP Q4 at 0700 GMT
(Adds comment, detail, updates prices)
By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE, Feb 23 London copper prices drifted
lower on Thursday, with the U.S. dollar firming as the market
reassessed minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy
meeting that kept the prospect of a March rate hike in play.
Many Fed policymakers said it may be appropriate to raise
interest rates again "fairly soon" should jobs and inflation
data come in line with expectations, according to the policy
meeting minutes released on Wednesday.
The dollar moved away from overnight lows and steadied on
Thursday. A stronger dollar erodes purchasing power for those
paying for commodities with other currencies.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had
slipped 0.6 percent to $6,004 a tonne by 0330 GMT, after easing
0.3 percent on Wednesday.
Prices have been bouncing around the $5,960-$6,200 a tonne
range since mid-month, touching a 20-month top of $6,204 on Feb.
13 after a strike was announced at Chile's Escondida mine, the
world's biggest copper producer.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper eased 0.3 percent
to 48,760 yuan ($7,089) a tonne.
Other LME metals, LME zinc nickel and
aluminium also fell around half a percent.
Fuelling concerns about supply, BHP Billiton's
decision this week to give up its legal right to replace
striking workers at Escondida is aimed at sacrificing some
output to undermine the union's position, analysts said.
The global world refined copper market showed a 9,000 tonne
deficit in November, compared with a 49,000 tonne surplus in
October, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said in its
latest monthly bulletin.
Citi bank said earlier this week it now expected a deficit
in the global copper market for the first year in six.
China's home price growth slowed for the fourth straight
month as demand cooled in its biggest cities, a welcome sign for
policymakers as they seek to defuse bubbles in the world's
second-largest economy amid explosive debt growth.
"Overall, we think China's cooling measures to deflate
property bubbles have taken effect," said Argonaut Securities in
"A steady growth in property market with moderate price
growth is positive for overall economic conditions and
stabilizes underlying demand for commodity and related
materials, in our view," Argonaut said.
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 = 6.8778 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford and Tom