METALS-Copper extends gains on softer dollar, China demand optimism

Credit: REUTERS/JUAN CARLOS ULATE

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Copper prices extended gains on Wednesday to hover near a two-week high, supported by a weaker U.S. dollar and hopes of strong demand outlook in top metals consumer China following Beijing's efforts to boost its economy and property sector.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.4% at $8,532.50 per metric ton by 0235 GMT. In the previous session, the contract hit its highest level since Feb. 2.

The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) rose 0.8% to 68,940 yuan ($9,592.05) a ton.

The dollar weakened broadly on Wednesday as it tracked a global decline in bond yields. A weaker U.S. currency makes dollar-priced metals less expensive for holders of other currencies. [USD/]

China announced its biggest reduction in the benchmark mortgage rate on Tuesday, as authorities sought to prop up the struggling property market and broader economy.

The global refined copper market showed a 20,000-metric-ton surplus in December, compared with a 123,000-metric-ton deficit in the prior month, the International Copper Study Group said in its latest monthly bulletin.

Meanwhile, LME aluminium climbed 2.4% to a one-week high of $2,247 a ton.

Global primary aluminium output in January rose 2.4% year-on-year to 6.039 million tons, according to data from the International Aluminium Institute.

LME nickel gained 0.6% to $16,450 a ton, zinc was up 0.8% at $2,399, lead increased 0.2% to $2,053.00 and tin rose 0.6% to $26,565.

SHFE aluminium edged 1.3% higher to 18,945 yuan a ton, nickel was steady at 127,180 yuan, tin rose 0.6% to 218,520 yuan, zinc gained 0.2% to 20,380 yuan, while lead was down 0.3% at 15,815 yuan.

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DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 1500 EU Consumer Confid. Flash Feb 1900 US Federal Open Market Committee issues minutes from its Jan. 30 – 31 meeting

($1 = 7.1872 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 9590227221; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) (( For related news and prices, click on the codes in brackets: LME price overview

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