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BASIC METALS-Copper rises hand in hand with stocks, but increase in virus cases limits progress

LONDON, Apr 21 (Reuters) – Copper prices stabilized on Wednesday along with a rally in stocks, although investor fears of rising coronavirus cases limited gains.

* At 1057 GMT, three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.4% at $ 9,359 a tonne.

* Expectations of a boom in demand for copper in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the global economic recovery in February pushed copper prices to a nearly 10-year high of $ 9,617.

* Signs of a rebound in European corporate earnings supported stocks. BHP and Antofagasta reported lower quarterly copper production due to COVID-19 restrictions on their workforce in Chile, but BHP raised its guidance for 2021 anyway.

* The pace of China’s mass inoculation campaigns against the coronavirus has slowed, according to Reuters calculations. Meanwhile, cases are increasing in India and Japan.

* Copper inventories in warehouses registered in the LME continued their downward trend, falling 900 tonnes to 159,450 tonnes. Last week, they hit their highest level since November.

* The number of warrants (stocks destined for delivery) canceled was 48%, a high figure that in general is a sign of a shortage of metal.

* The LME spot copper contract has a premium of about $ 8 / tonne over the three-month contract, indicating low metal availability in the short term.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, additional reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila. Edited in Spanish by Janisse Huambachano)

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