London copper prices gain as inflation jitters mount

Feb 14 (Reuters) – London copper, often viewed as a gauge of global economic health, rose on Monday as a jump in oil prices prompted investors’ quest for a hedge against stubborn inflation, though a firmer dollar capped gains in the greenback-priced red metal.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.5% at $9,909 a tonne, as of 0325 GMT, while the most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange eased 1.6% to 71,330 yuan ($11,217.88) a tonne.

Oil prices hit their highest level in more than seven years on fears that a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia could trigger U.S.and European sanctions that would disrupt exports from the world’s top producer in an already tight market.

Investors often buy commodities as a hedge against expectations of broadening inflationary risks.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME kusen aluminium gained 2.5% to $3,214.5 a tonne, nickel climbed 3.2% to $23,780 a tonne, lead inched 0.1% higher to $2,282, zinc rose 0.8% to $3,654 and tin was up 1% at $44,000.

* ShFE aluminium fell 0.9% to 22,760 yuan a tonne, nickel rose 1.8% to 176,750 yuan, zinc dipped 0.9% to 25,595 yuan, lead rose 0.5% to 15,375 yuan and tin slipped 1.4% to 333,910 yuan.

* Warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange saw large inflows of inventories last week with copper surging by 164%.It was the first weekly stocks data since China closed for its New Year celebrations.

* A Peruvian community said on social media on Sunday that it will restart a road blockade against MMG’s 1208.HK Las Bambas mine, even as a second community agreed to a 45-day truce in its blockade.

* Being too “abrupt and aggressive” with interest rate increases could be counter-productive to the Federal Reserve’s goals, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said on Sunday.

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MARKETS NEWS

* The dollar and safe-haven currencies held gains and riskier ones struggled for traction on Monday, with traders on edge about the prospect of war in Europe and unsettled by soaring inflation.

* Asian shares slipped as warnings Russia could invade Ukraine at any time sent oil prices to seven-year peaks, boosted bonds and belted the euro.

($1 = 6.3586 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)