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METALS-Copper prices rise on stimulus hopes; firm dollar limits gain

(Updates prices)

HANOI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Thursday on expectations of further stimulus from the United States, but a firm dollar limited gains in the London market.

The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended up 1.2% at 57,820 yuan ($8,953.79) a tonne, while three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.2% to $7,856 a tonne by 0804 GMT.

The U.S. Congress pushed ahead with a maneuver to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The plan is still pending a vote at the Senate.

U.S. data showed private payrolls rebounding more than expected in January, while service activities also improved strongly, pointing to signs of a recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

Copper is often used as a gauge of global economic health.

“Prices were capped as the U.S. Dollar Index strengthened, while hopes of more stimulus underpinned markets,” said commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron in a note.

A firm dollar nearing its strongest in more than two months made greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Soaring sales of consumer goods such as washing machines, fridges, freezers and cars in the world outside China are expected to invigorate copper consumption and create shortages later this year.

* In China, a central bank official said the People’s Bank of China will keep liquidity reasonably ample, easing money supply worries in the world’s top metals consumer.

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc is close to reaching a $2.8-billion deal with China’s Tsingshan Holding Group to build a copper smelter in Indonesia.

* LME aluminium advanced 0.5% to $1,982.50 a tonne, nickel increased 0.2% at $17,670 a tonne and zinc climbed 0.6% to $2,631 a tonne.

*ShFE aluminium jumped 2% to 15,280 yuan a tonne, while zinc increased 1.8% at 19,925 yuan a tonne.

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$1 = 6.4576 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Rashmi Aich

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