Copper rose overnight as top consumer China signalled plans to maintain liquidity in the financial system for the rest of the year, raising hopes of improved demand for metals.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) gained 0.4 per cent to $US5,792 a tonne by 1655 GMT. Copper is on track for a fifth consecutive weekly gain, which would be its longest winning streak since December.

“We have had an almighty rally in copper and we don’t have to look further than the monetary stimulus from central banks for a reason,” said independent metals consultant Robin Bhar.

China’s central bank said it would maintain ample financial system liquidity in the second half of the year as the world’s top metals consumer recovers from the coronavirus crisis.

Prices also gained support from a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, on Wednesday, raising hopes of a thaw in relations between the rival economies.

“We expect the two sides to talk about recent disagreements. We do not anticipate significant developments in this meeting but … it could pave the way for progress in the coming months,” said Geordie Wilkes, head of research at broker Sucden Financial.

However, the upside was capped by concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 infections after China, Germany and the United States reported new cases.

Peru’s miners are revving up stalled operations with mass testing, isolation periods and revamped shift patterns, setting up the world’s number two copper producer to hit 80 per cent of production capacity by the end of June, industry officials said.

Leading tin producer PT Timah is targeting refined tin sales of about 55,000 tonnes this year, down 19 per cent on 2019.

Aluminium was down 0.3 per cent at $US1,603 a tonne, zinc rose 1.4 per cent to $US2,048, lead gained 0.1 per cent to $US1,796, tin lost 0.6 per cent to $US16,875 and nickel was steady at $US12,880.

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