Copper rises on stimulus cheer

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    HANOI – Copper prices rose on Thursday as the United States moved to pass a $1.9-trillion stimulus bill, while a potential strike in top producer Chile threatened supply.

    Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 rose 0.6 percent to $8,914 a ton, while the most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange edged up 0.5 percent to 66,000 yuan ($10,156.03) a ton.

    The US House of Representatives approved the bill on Wednesday, one of the largest economic stimulus measures in American history, in an effort to recover the world’s biggest economy.

    Copper is often used as a gauge of global economic health.

    Copper prices will surge to an all-time high over the next 12 months as a result of strong demand from China’s clean energy drive and years of under-investment in global mine supply, the chairman of Chinese metals trader Maike Group said on Wednesday.

    Benchmark prices for copper, widely used in power and construction, hit a 9-1/2 year high of $9,617 a ton on the London Metal Exchange on Feb. 25, within striking distance of the all-time peak of $10,190 set in 2011, partly driven by optimism over coronavirus-related fiscal stimulus.

    The metal has since eased to around $8,900 but He Jinbi, who founded Maike in the 1990s, believes as top consumer China builds metals-intensive renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure, copper and other base metals will see serious supply deficits in future and be subject to capital inflows. – Reuters