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METALS-Vaccine optimism pushes industrial metals higher

(Updates prices)

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Copper and other industrial metals rose on Wednesday as optimism over the rollout of coronavirus vaccines bolstered expectations for a rebound in global economic growth and metals demand.

Britain on Tuesday began a vaccination campaign, while Johnson & Johnson said it could obtain late-stage trial results of a COVID-19 vaccine it is developing earlier than expected and Pfizer Inc cleared another regulatory hurdle on its jab.

The news overpowered fears about rising infections as many nations scramble to quell another round of new cases.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.7% at $7,749 a tonne at 1710 GMT, close to the $7,800 touched on Monday, its highest since March 2013.

Prices in recent weeks have also been supported by strength in the Chinese economy, which accounts for more than half of global metals demand.

INVENTORIES: In warehouses registered with the LME, total copper stocks have fallen 20% since mid-October to 149,575 tonnes. Stocks in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange are near their lowest since 2014. MCUSTX-TOTALCU-STX-SGH

POSITIONING: The LME copper net speculative long is at 36% of open interest, a level not seen since October 2017, according to brokers Marex Spectron, a sign of optimism from funds.

CHILE: A union in contract negotiations with Antofagasta at its Centinela mine has reached an agreement with the Chilean miner, while another was still in talks, union leaders said on Wednesday.

STIMULUS: Investors are also eyeing a $916 billion coronavirus relief package proposed by the Trump administration.

OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium rose 2.4% to $2,037.50 a tonne , while zinc was 2.3% higher at $2,863 after hitting its highest since April 2019.

Nickel climbed 2% to $16,730 after touching its strongest since October 2019, lead was flat at $2,100, while tin gained 1.4% to $19,450 after touching its highest since May 2019. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Sandra Maler and Jan Harvey)