SHANGHAI, July 18 (Reuters) - Copper traded higher on Wednesday in what traders described as a technical rebound following a fall of 1.2 percent in the prior session after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave few concrete hints of future stimulus measures for the world's largest economy.
But gains are expected to be capped by lingering worries over the global economy after Bernanke painted a bleak picture of U.S. economic prospects, and while the euro zone struggles with its debt problems and China tries to boost its slowing growth.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had risen 1 percent to $7,668.75 per tonne by 0114 GMT, snapping two sessions of losses.
The most-active November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.1 percent to 55,960 yuan ($8,800) per tonne, after falling 0.5 percent in the prior session.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday offered a gloomy view of the U.S. economy's prospects, but provided few concrete clues on whether the U.S. central bank was moving closer to a fresh round of monetary stimulus.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed serious concern on Tuesday over a possible default by Sicily, an autonomous region long criticised for its wasteful public administration and bloated government payroll.
Greece's coalition government will seek a bridging loan to tide it over while it scrambles to find 11.7 billion euros of spending cuts to bring a derailed bailout plan back on track and appease exasperated international lenders.
China's foreign direct investment inflows fell 3 percent in the first half of 2012 versus last year, largely as a result of Beijing's moves to deter speculators from entering an overheated property sector.
U.S. regulators should block JPMorgan Chase & Co's plan for an exchange-traded fund (ETF) physically backed by copper because it would create a boom-and-bust cycle in the market, according to U.S. Senator Carl Levin.
BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, said its copper production rose 15 percent year on year in the June quarter to 312,500 tonnes, higher than UBS's forecast of 311,200 tonnes.
Asian shares edged higher on Wednesday, while the euro received a leg up against the dollar on hopes the U.S. central bank has left the door open for more stimulus measures later in the year, after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined a gloomy view of U.S. economic recovery.
1230 U.S. Build permits: change mm Jun
1230 U.S. House starts mm: change Jun
1230 U.S. Housing starts number mm Jun
China House prices Jun
Base metals prices at 0114 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg
LME Cu 7668.75 73.75 +0.97 0.90
SHFE CU FUT NOV2 55960 30 +0.05 0.59
LME Alum 1909.00 5.00 +0.26 -5.50
SHFE AL FUT OCT2 15565 -15 -0.10 -1.74
HG COPPER SEP2 347.60 2.05 +0.59 1.16
LME Zinc 1875.50 10.50 +0.56 1.65
SHFE ZN FUT OCT2 14830 30 +0.20 0.24
LME Nickel 16150.00 50.00 +0.31 -13.68
LME Lead 1898.00 4.00 +0.21 -6.73
SHFE PB FUT 14960 -0.00 0.00 0.00
LME Tin 18895.00 0.00 +0.00 0.00
LME/Shanghai arb 1207
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
^ LME 3-m copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month
($1 = 6.3729 Chinese yuan)