BEIJING, Feb 21 (Reuters) - London copper prices eased in
early Asian trade on Thursday, retreating from a seven-month
peak hit in the previous session, as the dollar firmed after the
Federal Reserve revived expectations for a possible U.S. rate
hike this year.
    A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated metals more
expensive for holders of other currencies and can weigh on
prices.        
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal
Exchange was down 0.5 percent at $6,370.50 a tonne, as
of 0159 GMT. It closed 1.4 percent higher at $6,405, its highest
since July 10, amid tightening stocks on Wednesday.
    * SHFE COPPER: The most-traded April copper contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange added 0.3 percent to 49,740
yuan ($7,398.59) a tonne. 
    * FED: The U.S. Federal Reserve, in the minutes of its
latest meeting in January, said the U.S. economy and its labour
market remained strong, prompting some expectations of at least
one more interest rate hike this year. 
    * USD: The dollar index edged up 0.1 percent to
96.579.
    * COPPER: Intense rains at the start of this month in Chile,
the world's top copper miner, likely hurt productivity at
state-owned miner Codelco's Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic
mines, the country's mining minister said Tuesday.
    * OTHER METALS: London nickel, zinc and lead
 were all down just over half-a-percent, while aluminium
 and tin eked out 0.1 percent gains.     
    * GLENCORE: Weaker cobalt prices dented earnings at
Glencore's trading division last year, but strength in
other commodities helped the company to post an 8 percent jump
in core profit and announce a share buyback programme worth up
to $3 billion.