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Copper set for weekly gain on China demand, slower Fed rate hike bets

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(Updates prices, adds analyst’s comments)

BEIJING, Jan 13 (Reuters) –

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Copper prices eased on Friday, but were set for a weekly gain supported by demand optimism from top consumer China and hopes of the U.S. Federal Reserve slowing the pace of interest rate hikes.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged 0.2% lower to $9,173.50 a tonne by 0836 GMT, after hitting $9,240 on Thursday, its strongest level since June 16.

The contract rose over 6.8% this week, buoyed by hopes that China’s reopening would drive up demand for industrial metals.

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Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research forecast an increase of 4.4% in China’s 2023 copper consumption to 14.81 million tonnes, the highest over the past five years.

Speculation of slower interest rate hikes by the Fed increased after data showed U.S. inflation was easing.

The dollar hovered at a near nine-month low, boosting the greenback-priced metal’s appeal for those holding other currencies.

The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was unchanged at 68,630 yuan ($10,215.08) a tonne, with a weekly gain of 5.4%.

“Higher prices on the London market stimulated export interests among some Chinese copper smelters, while cargoes planned to ship out have been delayed as logistics slowed down ahead of the Spring Festival,” said Ye Jianhua, a copper analyst at Shanghai Metals Market.

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“Those exports are likely to arrive at bonded warehouses in overseas countries or LME warehouses after the holiday.”

The metal was also supported by

supply concerns from Peru, the world’s second-biggest copper producer, after vandals attacked Glencore’s Antapaccay mine.

LME tin jumped 6.7% to $29,250, aluminum climbed 0.5% to $2,562 a tonne, zinc advanced 1.9% to $3,298, while lead slid 0.4% to $2,190.

SHFE tin advanced 3.3% to 221,880 yuan a tonne, aluminum was up 1.1% at 18,515 yuan, zinc climbed 1.3% to 24,155 yuan, nickel rose 1.8% to 208,370 yuan.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.7185 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; editing by Uttaresh.V, Rashmi Aich and Eileen Soreng)

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