METALS-Copper advances on demand hopes as China eases COVID rules

By Mai Nguyen

December 6 (Reuters)Copper prices in London rose on Tuesday as hopes grew that demand would rebound in major consumer China after more cities eased COVID-19 restrictions.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 rose 0.2% to $8,404 a tonne at 0546 GMT, as the most traded copper contract in January on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 edged down 0.6% to 65,850 yuan ($9,433.42) a ton.

Beijing, the capital of China abandoned the need for people to show negative COVID tests to enter supermarkets and offices, the latest in an easing of restrictions across the country following historic protests last month.

The country can announce 10 new COVID easing measures as early as Wednesday, sources said, complementing the 20 unveiled in November that sparked a wave of easing across the country.

The easing of restrictions is supporting copper prices, ANZ analysts said in a note.

“The market ignored signs of weakness in the physical market,” they added.

Yangshan Copper Bounty SMM-CUYP-CN fell to its lowest level since July 22 at $72.50 a tonne on Monday, indicating weakening demand for imported copper in China.

Copper inventory withdrawals also slowed in the LME, SHFE and Chinese bonded warehouses. SHFE Copper Inventories CU-STX-GHS were at 65,226 tons on Friday, more than double the level seen at the end of September.

A stable dollarwhich makes greenback-priced commodities expensive for holders of other currencies, has also capped metals price gains.

LME aluminum CMAL3 fell 0.3% to $2,516 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 fell 0.2% to $3,119.50 a tonne, lead CMPB3 was down 0.7% at $2,222.50 a tonne and tin CMSN3 fell 1% to $24,200 a tonne.

Nickel SHFE SNIcv1 rose 1.3% to 207,590 yuan per ton, tin SSNcv1 jumped 2.6% to 195,290 yuan per ton, lead SPBcv1 edged up 0.1% to 15,945 yuan per ton and aluminum SAFcv1 fell 0.3% to 19,205 yuan per ton.

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($1 = 6.9805 yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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