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Copper soars to nine-year high on tight supply and weak dollar

Kitco News

(Updates with official prices)

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Copper jumped to its highest in more than nine years on Friday and towards a third straight weekly gain as tight supplies and bullish sentiment towards base metals continued after the Chinese New Year.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) added 2.5% to $8,763 a tonne in official trading. The metal used in power and construction touched a peak of $8,848, its highest since September 2011.

“The return of the Chinese market post the Lunar New Year has seen some renewed interest in base metals,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, a partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

“The very short term for copper is bullish, but we are in the latest phase of a rally and we would look to short the area closer to $9,000.”

INVENTORIES: Inventories of copper in warehouse registered with the LME are near 2005 lows at 75,700 tonnes, keeping the premium for cash copper over the three-month contract elevated at about $20 a tonne. MCUSTX-TOTALMCU0-3

Cancelled warrants - metal earmarked for delivery - account for about 39% and further fuelled concerns about tight supply on the LME market.

POSITIONING: Speculative interest in copper was elevated, adding to interest in the metal.

The net speculative long on LME copper is seen at 45% of open interest at Wednesday’s close, near the year-to-date peak of 46% last month, brokerage Marex Spectron said.

CHINA STOCKS: Stocks of copper, zinc and aluminium jumped in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange after the Chinese New Year. CU-STX-SGH

DOLLAR: A weaker dollar also helped to boost the appeal of metals priced in the currency.

TRADE WAR: U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese goods by the former Trump administration will be kept in place for now but but will be evaluated after a thorough review, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC.

OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium gained 0.6% to $2,150.50 a tonne, zinc advanced 1.1% to $2,885.50, lead gained 0.9% to $2,135.50 and tin climbed 2.1% to $25,446 while nickel was up 1.9% at $19,512.

Reporting by Zandi Shabalala Additional reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila Editing by David Evans and David Goodman

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