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METALS-Bullish investors push copper towards 10-year highs

(Updates prices)

LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Monday as global stock markets hit record highs and the dollar fell, with many analysts and traders expecting the metal to rally to new 10-year highs.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.8% at $9,379.50 a tonne at 1605 GMT, after touching $9,436, its highest since Feb. 25.

“That February high” - $9,617 - “will be tested sooner or later,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen, taking prices to their highest since 2011. Prices would then target $10,000 a tonne, he said.

MARKETS: Investors upbeat about the prospects for a global economic recovery from COVID-19 pushed up equities markets.

DOLLAR/YIELDS: Boosting copper have been a fall in U.S. bond yields that lifted equities markets and a weakening dollar, which makes metals cheaper for non-U.S. buyers.

The dollar weakened further on Monday while U.S. 10-year yields inched higher.

PARABOLIC: Economic recovery, ebullient markets, tight supply and a strong demand outlook should support copper, said analysts at ING.

“Upside risks (may) dominate for copper during 2Q21, suggesting the red metal could be on a parabolic run, testing previous highs,” they said.

“However,” they added, “this strength may dampen as the current restocking cycle approaches an end and slowing credit growth in China weighs on investment demand, which may become more evident in the second half of this year.”

CITI: Analysts at Citi said copper could reach $10,500 within three months.

POSITIONING: Speculators cut their bullish copper positions on the Comex exchange in New York in the week to April 13, giving them greater scope to increase them again, which would help to lift prices.

On the LME, speculators are already expanding their long position from lows earlier this month, according to brokers Marex Spectron.

SPREAD: Supply of quickly deliverable copper is tightening, with cash copper's premium over the three-month contract on the LME rising to $15. CMCU0-3

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was up 0.8% at $2,332.50 a tonne, zinc fell 0.2% to $2,849.50, nickel was 1.5% lower at $16,125, lead rose 0.5% to $2,055.50 and tin was flat at $26,610.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Bernadette Baum

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