Shanghai copper hits 2-week high as China further eases COVID curbs

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Shanghai copper futures rose to their highest in two weeks on Tuesday as top metals consumer China has decided to scrap quarantine rules for travelers, which is a major step towards further easing of its COVID containment policy.

China will stop requiring inbound travelers to go into quarantine starting from Jan. 8, moving further away from a strict “zero-COVID” policy that has curbed industrial activity and domestic demand and ignited public unrest last month.

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The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as much as 1.3% to 66,660 yuan ($9,576.21) a tonne in early trade, its strongest since Dec. 14.

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Gains on boosted Shanghai copper’s monthly rise to about 3%, with the metal also supported by hopes of additional stimulus to shore up China’s slowing economy, including policy support for the ailing domestic property sector.

“Overall, the current macro environment is relatively favorable for copper prices,” Huatai Futures analysts wrote in a note.

But any gains for now were likely to be muted as market volume is expected to be light with many traders away for the New Year break and as the London Metal Exchange remained shut on Tuesday for a UK public holiday.

Supply concerns could keep traders cautious, analysts said, as customs clearance in Shanghai has slowed down due to rising COVID case numbers.

The medical community across China is scrambling to cope after China’s abrupt U-turn on its COVID policies has led to a surge in infections.

Among other metals, SHFE aluminum was up 1.8% at 18,995 yuan a tonne, as of 0209 GMT, tin rose 0.4% to 198,610 yuan, zinc climbed 1.2% to 23,665 yuan, nickel gained 2.1% to 223,080 yuan, and lead added 0.6% at 16,065 yuan.

For the top stories in metals and other news, click TOP/MTL or MET/L

($1 = 6.9610 yuan) (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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