METALS-Copper prices rise, clinging to vaccine hopes

(Updates prices)

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Copper prices were boosted on Thursday by more progress on a possible COVID-19 vaccine, the delivery of which could revive the global economy and galvanise metals demand.

Moderna Inc said on Wednesday it had enough data for a first interim analysis of the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, while Germany’s CureVac said its vaccine has been shown to remain stable at 5 degrees Celsius (41 F) for at least three months, making it potentially easier to distribute than some rivals’ compounds.

Copper, seen as a bellwether for the health of the global economy, hit its highest in 2-1/2 years on Monday after Pfizer said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based on initial data from a large study.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had added 0.6% to $6,928 per tonne by 1700 GMT.

“The vaccine news is positive and it should support industrial metals because it means economies can open up,” independent consultant Robin Bhar.

“But irrespective of a vaccine, copper fundamentals look great,” he said, citing upbeat manufacturing data in recent weeks and supply concerns.

CHINA ECONOMY: China’s new bank loans fell more than expected in October, but the drop was likely seasonal and policymakers are expected to maintain solid support for the economy as the pandemic rages on.

The world’s top consumer of metals will speed up the spending of special funds allocated to local governments to help support the economy.

Chinese government stimulus has propped up the virus-hit economy.

COPPER PREMIUMS: The Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN dropped to $46 a tonne, its lowest since April 2017, pointing to lean demand for imported copper into China.

ZINC: The global zinc concentrate market is forecast to switch back to a surplus in 2021, after a short-lived deficit this year, Chinese metals research house Antaike said.

PRICES: Aluminium rose 0.5% to $1,928 per tonne, zinc was litle changed, down 0.02% to $2,623.50, while nickel eased 0.2% to $15,940.

Lead was the best performer, climbing 0.9% to $1,892, the highest since Sept. 22, and tin gained 0.5% to $18,295. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Alison Williams, Mark Potter and Kirsten Donovan)