Feb 16 (Reuters) - Copper prices advanced to their highest level in nearly nine years on Tuesday, boosted by optimism about a global economic recovery that bodes well for metal demand while supply is expected to remain tight.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 0.5% to $8,437 a tonne in early Asian trading hours, rising for a third straight session to its highest since May 2012.
The metal, often used as a gauge for global economic health, was up as much as 9.4% from its Feb. 2 low of $7,712 a tonne.
A weak U.S. dollar also helped boost the appeal of greenback-priced copper.
* Mainland Chinese markets will remain closed for the holidays until Wednesday, while Wall Street was shut on Monday.
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* Asian shares advanced on Tuesday, putting world equities on course to extend their bull run for a 12th consecutive session as optimism about the global economic recovery and expectations of low interest rates drive investments into riskier assets.
* The U.S. dollar was pinned down on Tuesday, as vaccine optimism boosted the British pound to an almost three-year high, while rising oil prices and buoyant expectations for global recovery supported commodity and trade-exposed currencies.
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(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)