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METALS-China Data and Vaccine Optimism Lifts Copper Price

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Copper prices on Thursday were supported by factory data from China showing economic growth in the metal’s top consumer and helped by the rollout in major economies of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) added 0.3% to $7,777 per tonne by 1210 GMT.

The metal, seen as a bellwether of global economic health, has gained over 80% since March lows, mainly on the back of a rebound in the Chinese economy.

Data showed on Tuesday that China’s factory output grew at the fastest pace in 20 months in November driven by revived consumer spending and a gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in major trading partners.

“The data, which was mostly in line with expectation, can be interpreted positively because it confirms that China is on track for solid growth and that they have already overcome what they lost from the pandemic,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

China accounts for nearly half of global copper consumption estimated at 24 million tonnes.

LOCKDOWN RISK: Markets were supported by a vaccine roll-out in the United States and Britain but the risk of a resurgence in coronavirus cases has prompted some European countries to impose strict lockdowns.

POSITIONING: Bullish bets on copper by funds showed no signs of abating, with positioning on LME and COMEX at high levels, according to estimates by Marex Spectron and data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

ALUMINIUM: China’s primary aluminium production hit a daily record in November, as more smelting capacity came onstream to take advantage of strong demand and high prices for the metal.

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium slipped 0.3% to $2,042 a tonne, zinc rose 0.4% to $2,848, lead dropped 0.3% to $2,034, tin dropped 0.4% to $19,670, and nickel gained 0.6% to $17,700.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Source: Reuters

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