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Copper rises to 3-week high on hopes of strong Chinese demand

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SINGAPORE — London copper prices rose for a fourth consecutive session on Friday, heading for a second straight weekly gain, as an easing of COVID-19 curbs in China boosted demand expectations in the world’s top consumer of the metal.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.6% to $8,592 a tonne, as of 0324 GMT. The market, which hit its highest since Nov. 14 at $8,598 earlier in the session, is up for a second week in a row.

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The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange added 1.2% to 66,830 yuan ($9,604.08) a tonne.

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“The relaxation of COVID-19 rules has raised hopes of improving consumer demand,” ANZ said in a report.

“However, it’s been the package of support for the property sector which has really boosted sentiment.”

Used in power and construction, copper is up more than 4% this month after rising 10.6% in November as expectations began to build that China will retreat from its zero-COVID policies.

China on Wednesday announced the most sweeping changes to its resolute anti-COVID regime since the pandemic began three years ago, loosening rules that curbed the spread of the virus but sparked protests and hobbled the world’s second-largest economy.

Goldman Sachs raised its 2023 forecast for average copper prices to $9,750 per tonne from $8,325 previously. It said that copper surplus is no longer likely to happen in 2023, with global visible stocks falling to their lowest in 14 years.

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China’s Bank of Communications said it had signed pacts to support eight property firms, easing a liquidity crunch in the sector, which is a major user of metals.

LME aluminum was largely unchanged at $2,504 a tonne, zinc increased 0.2% to $3,243 a tonne, tin was up 0.4% at $24,720 a tonne, while lead fell 0.2% to $2,215.50 a tonne.

SHFE aluminum was little changed at 19,185 yuan a tonne, zinc traded almost flat at 24,795 yuan a tonne, lead added 0.4% to 15,785 yuan a tonne and tin rose 1.4% to 198,660 yuan a tonne.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.9585 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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