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Copper up after moderate rise in underlying US inflation

Kitco News

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Copper prices reversed earlier losses to trade higher on Wednesday, after a moderate rise in underlying inflation in the United States raised hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve would leave interest rates unchanged next week.

U.S. consumer prices increased by the most in 14 months in August as gasoline prices surged, but the annual rise in underlying inflation was the smallest in nearly two years.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.3% at $8,416 per metric ton at 15:45 GMT.

Steady U.S. interest rates could mean a weaker U.S. currency, which when it falls makes dollar-priced metals cheaper for holders of other currencies, which could boost demand. Trading is expected to remain light before the European Central Bank's (ECB) interest rate decision on Thursday, said Alastair Munro, senior base metals strategist at Marex.

Munro added that industrial metals prices would be dominated by wider factors such as the dollar's performance against the Chinese yuan.

The ECB is expected to hike rates for the 10th consecutive time this week, which will also weigh on the dollar.

However, worries about industrial metals demand in China has been a feature for some months despite a series of supporting measures by Beijing to revive a troubled property market.

Chinese data on house prices, urban investment and industrial production data this week should provide a steer on the direction of industrial metals demand and prices.

In other metals, aluminium was up 0.7% at $2,212 a ton, zinc rose 2% to $2,528.5, tin dipped 0.7% to $25,700 and lead was down 0.1% at $2,217 while nickel went up 0.8% to $20,075.

(Reporting by Julian Luk Editing by David Goodman and Paul Simao)
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