Copper Rises, Boosted by Upbeat Chinese Data

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"The red metal hit 14-month highs last week and has more than doubled this year. . ."

Copper prices climbed more than 1% to snap six days of losses on Friday, buoyed by robust industrial output data from China, the world's largest metals consumer.

Benchmark copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange was untraded in rings but last bid at $6 910 a tonne from $6 809 at the close on Thursday and compared with a session high at $6 918.

Boosting sentiment was Chinese industrial output data, which surged in November at its fastest pace since June 2007, underlining the economy's brisk recovery from the global downturn.

China's imports of unwrought copper and semi-finished copper products rose 10.3% in November from the previous month to 290 158 tonnes, defying market expectations for a flat performance to a slight decline.

"China would be the locomotive for base metals, however lately there have been some doubts that it could continue at that pace," said Peter Fertig, a consultant at Quantitative Commodity Research. "Industrial production is still expanding, indicating that the use of copper is going to increase."

Fertig added a rise in equity markets, seen as a leading economic indicator by both analysts and traders, was also aiding sentiment.

The red metal hit 14-month highs last week and has more than doubled this year, due to a combination of a weak dollar, Chinese buying, new investor cash and improving macro data.

But copper, used in power and construction, hit a two-week low at $6 762,75 on Thursday and is headed for its biggest weekly drop since September.

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