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Copper set for best week since October on supply crunch

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By Eileen Soreng Jan 14 (Reuters) - Copper prices eased on Friday as investors braced for a U.S. interest rate hike in March, but were headed for their biggest weekly gains since October supported by tight supply.


Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4% at $9,920 a tonne by 0715 GMT, but it was up nearly 3% for the week, its biggest gain in 13 weeks.


The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended down 0.6% at 71,460 yuan ($11,249.82) a tonne.


"Base metal prices may moderate from the current elevated levels as supply loosens up, but we expect prices to remain well above pre-pandemic levels," CreditSights said in a report.


Tight supply fundamentals, relatively stable demand outlook and exposure to growth trends amid the green transition for metals like copper and nickel were expected to support prices, according to the report.


On-warrant LME copper inventories were at 78,000 tonnes, down about 67% from August highs, while stocks in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange were near their lowest since 2009.


(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Shounak Dasgupta)

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