By Mai Nguyen
SINGAPORE, April 27 (Reuters) - London copper prices touched their highest level in nearly six weeks on Monday as some major economies plan to reopen businesses, while more stimulus from Japan also helped sentiment.
Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose as much as 2.5% to $5,269 a tonne, its highest since March 17, before easing to trade up 1.7% at $5,229 a tonne at 0704 GMT.
The most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) rose as much as 2.6% to 42,880 yuan ($6,058.72) a tonne, a level unseen since April 17, but retreated slightly to close at 42,490 yuan a tonne, up 1.6%.
More U.S. states prepared to ease their coronavirus restrictions this week, while Italy will allow factories and building sites to reopen from May 4. South Africa also plans to allow some manufacturing and retail activities to resume.
"Reopen is the key," said a metals trader, adding sentiment is also supported by the fact that many countries seem to have passed their peak infection period.
The Bank of Japan expanded monetary stimulus for the second straight month to combat the deepening economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Prices were also supported by news that China's Yunnan province will set aside 1 billion yuan to help businesses stockpile 800,000 tonnes of base metal post-outbreak, which another trader said would be bullish for the metals market in the short-term.
China is the world's biggest consumer of metals and accounts for around half of the global copper consumption.
* OTHER PRICES: LME nickel was up 1.1% at $12,375 a tonne, zinc rose 1.7% to $1,915 a tonne and tin climbed 2.8% to $15,305 a tonne.
* SHFE PRICES: Zinc climbed 2.1% to 16,090 yuan a tonne, nickel advanced 1.2% to 101,580 yuan a tonne and tin closed up 3.5% at 132,710 yuan a tonne, its highest since March 11.
* COPPER: Total imports of copper concentrate into China in March edged up 1.03% to 1.78 million tonnes year-on-year, as the country boosted imports from alternative sources amid a slump in shipments from top suppliers Peru and Chile.
* TRADE: China's nickel ore imports in March fell 42.3% to a 25-month low from a year ago.
* CHINA: Profits earned by China's industrial firms in March fell 34.9% to 370.66 billion yuan from a year earlier, official data showed.
* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 7.0774 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jason Neely)