SHANGHAI, June 13 (Reuters) - Copper prices steadied on Wednesday, as a rise in global equity markets offset concerns about the euro zone debt crisis, where Spanish bond yields hit a record high on Tuesday.
The Greek elections over the coming weekend, which may determine whether Greece stays in the euro zone, are expected to keep weighing on prices as investors worry about how further chaos in the single currency region will impact global demand for metals.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell $5.25 to $7,389.75 a tonne by 0103 GMT after dipping 0.3 percent on Tuesday. Prices had jumped 1.7 percent on Monday on a short-lived rally after a bailout package for Spain's banks.
The most-active September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged up 0.2 percent to 53,850 yuan ($8,500) a tonne, after losing 1.1 percent in the previous session -- much more than its London counterpart.
The markets remained cautious despite global stocks markets and the euro firming on Tuesday. Gains were capped on record-high yields of Spanish bonds on continued worries about the effectiveness of Madrid's bank bailout and the looming Greek elections.
Fitch Ratings downgraded 18 Spanish banks on Tuesday, less than a week after it cut the country's sovereign debt rating, underscoring the potential for lenders' assets to deteriorate further.
Investors fear that Europe is far from ending 2-1/2 years of turmoil -- a feeling reinforced by Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, who said the euro zone was "still far from stable".
All eyes are on the Greek elections on Sunday, especially after sources revealed that European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro.
U.S. import prices recorded their largest decline in nearly two years in May as energy and food costs fell, pointing to muted inflation pressures amid slowing global demand.
Asian shares rose on Wednesday, following gains in European and U.S. markets where bargain hunters bought beaten down stocks.
The euro drifted higher against the dollar on Tuesday after three days of losses as risk aversion eased somewhat, while investors cashed in bearish bets on the single currency ahead of Sunday's Greek election.
0900 Euro zone Industrial production Apr
1230 U.S. Producer prices May
1230 U.S. Retail sales May
1400 U.S. Business inventories Apr
Base metals prices at 0103 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg
LME Cu 7389.75 -5.25 -0.07 -2.77
SHFE CU FUT SEP2 53850 110 +0.20 -3.20
LME Alum 1972.00 4.00 +0.20 -2.38
SHFE AL FUT SEP2 15865 00 +0.00 0.16
HG COPPER JUL2 333.35 -0.20 -0.06 -2.98
LME Zinc 1884.50 4.50 +0.24 2.14
SHFE ZN FUT SEP2 14780 20 +0.14 -0.10
LME Nickel 17145.00 -30.00 -0.17 -8.36
LME Lead 1899.00 3.50 +0.18 -6.68
SHFE PB FUT 0 -14940 -100.00 -100.00
LME Tin 19700.00 0.00 +0.00 2.60
LME/Shanghai arb 1018
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
^ LME 3-m copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month
($1 = 6.3703 Chinese yuan)