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Copper Advances as China Eases Policy Further to Stoke Lending

Copper rose in London, rebounding from the longest losing streak since September, after China eased reserve requirements to stoke lending in the world’s biggest consumer of the metal.

The proportion of cash that Chinese lenders must set aside will fall half a percentage point as of Feb. 24, the People’s Bank of China said Feb. 18. The reduction was the second in three months. Copper also climbed after money managers increased bets on price gains to the highest level since August.

“The cut is certainly a step in the right direction,” Nic Brown, head of commodities research at Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd. in London, said by e-mail.

Copper for three-month delivery settled 0.7 percent higher at $8,235.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Prices slid 6.7 percent over six sessions before today. Copper for May delivery rose 1.1 percent to $3.7565 a pound by 1:06 p.m. on the Comex in New York, where floor trading was closed today for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Managed-money funds held net-long positions, or wagers on rising Comex copper prices, of 14,817 futures and options contracts as of Feb. 14, versus 12,298 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Snowfall in Chile

Collahuasi, the world’s third-biggest copper mine, was operating normally after snowstorms disrupted operations at the mine site in northern Chile, company spokeswoman Bernardita Fernandez said today by phone.

European governments moved toward a second rescue of Greece, calculating that the cost of a fresh bailout is a price worth paying to prevent a default that could shatter the euro area. Finance ministers will weigh terms of new Greek loans and a possible contribution by central banks at a meeting today.

“There are still risks for a retracement in the near term as long as Chinese consumers remain absent,” Stefan Graber, an analyst at Credit Suisse AG, said in a report today.

Aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel and tin rose in London.

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