METALS-Copper advances as Fed projects rapid economic growth

HANOI, March 18 (Reuters) – Prices of copper and most industrial metals rose on Thursday, as a dovish Federal Reserve message sent the dollar lower after projecting a jump in U.S. economic growth this year, making greenback-priced metals cheaper to holders of other currencies.

The U.S. Fed on Wednesday dampened a speculation that it would wind back stimulus despite an expected surge of inflation and the U.S. economy heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years.

On the London Metal Exchange, three-month copper that is often used as a gauge of global economic health edged up 0.2% to $9,085 a tonne by 0239 GMT, while the most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 0.8% to 67,140 yuan ($10,345.31) a tonne.

Traders believe continued easing measures will ensure liquidity in the financial markets.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME aluminium dipped 0.1% to $2,225 a tonne, nickel rose 0.9% to $16,210 a tonne and zinc increased 0.6% to $2,844 a tonne. ShFE aluminium was up 0.2% at 17,660 yuan a tonne and ShFE zinc advanced 0.8% to 21,810 yuan a tonne.

* LME copper inventories MCUSTX-TOTAL hit their highest since Dec. 30, 2020 at 107,275 tonnes.

* LME cash aluminium was at its biggest discount since October 2020 of $33.50 a tonne discount to the three-month contract CMAL0-3 as exchange inventories jumped.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stocks were set for modest gains after the Fed’s pledge to keep monetary policy and rates unchanged.

DATA/EVENTS AHEAD (GMT)

1200 UK BOE Bank Rate March

1200 UK GB BOE QE Corp March

1230 US Initial Jobless Claim weekly

1230 US Philly Fed Business Index March

— Japan Bank of Japan holds Monetary Policy Meeting

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