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LONDON: Copper prices rose on Tuesday after monetary policy easing by China's central bank and climbing imports into the world's top metals consumer.

The People's Bank of China on Monday said it would cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, releasing the funds in long-term liquidity to bolster slowing economic growth.

"China's policy easing has sparked optimism. Meanwhile, we have probably seen the worst in the property market," said ING analyst Wenyu Yao. The property sector is a major consumer of copper.

China's copper imports rose for a third straight month in November, customs data showed, hitting their highest since March as demand rose after the easing of a power crunch that had dented industrial production.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) added 1% to $9,602 a tonne in official trading.

Chile copper exports soar to $4.9bn in November on high global prices

China Imports: Overall, Chinese imports rose 31.7% in November, beating the 19.8% rise in October and well above a forecast for a 20.6% gain.

"Given that this is just one month's data, and that other indicators point to a further softening in demand from commodity end-users, we are sceptical," Capital Economics analysts said.

Evergrande: Concerns over a possible default of cash-strapped China Evergrande Group resurfaced after the property developer failed to make coupon payments to some offshore bondholders by the end of a 30-day grace period.

Chile: The world's top copper producer's exports soared by more than 35% to $4.92 billion in November, the Andean country's central bank said, bolstered by strong global prices of the metal.

Supply: Supporting base metals are physical signs of tight supply, evidenced by low visible stocks and cash-to-three month spreads.

Inventories: Total copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses stand at 74,225 tonnes, their lowest since March. ShFE stockpiles are at 36,110 tonnes, down 84% from May's 229,179 tonnes.

Other Metals: LME aluminium rose 1.2% to $2,619 a tonne, zinc added 1.9% to $3,221.50, lead gained 0.8% to $2,214, tin was up 1.7% at $39,390 and nickel climbed 1.2% to $20,060.

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