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Copper Rises as Prolonged Chilean Mine Strike May Cut Supplies

Copper prices in New York rebounded from the biggest two-day slide since June on speculation that supplies may tighten further as a strike continues at the world’s fourth-biggest mine.

Today, the wage dispute at Chile’s Collahuasi mine, owned by Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc, entered the 20th day. The walkout helped drive copper prices in London to a record this month. Yesterday, the International Copper Study Group said that global demand in the eight months ended Aug. 31 exceeded output by 363,000 metric tons, compared with a deficit of 47,000 tons a year earlier.

“The supply situation could tighten in the short term if the strike at Collahuasi does not end soon,” Commerzbank AG said in a report.

Copper futures for March delivery rose 5.55 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $3.7665 a pound at 1:27 p.m. on the Comex in New York. In the previous two days, the price dropped 3.4 percent.

Copper has climbed 13 percent this year as global inventories declined. The price has dropped 7.9 percent from a 30-month high of $4.0875 on Nov. 11, partly on concern that that moves by China to cool its economy will erode metal demand.

“We are wary about buying the dips,” Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Darien, Connecticut, said in a report.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months gained $110, or 1.4 percent, to $8,250 a ton ($3.74 a pound). The price reached a record $8,966 on Nov. 11.

Zinc, lead, aluminum, nickel and tin also rose on the LME.

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