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LONDON: Copper prices rose on Tuesday after data showed expanding factory activity in Europe, Japan and the United States and as the dollar weakened, making metals cheaper for buyers with other currencies.

Nickel also gained as falling inventories in exchange warehouses pushed premiums for quickly deliverable metal to their highest since 2009.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 2.2% at $9,719 a tonne at 1700 GMT, a little below last May’s record high of $10,747.50.

LME nickel was up 2% at $22,770 a tonne after reaching $24,435 on Jan. 20 for its highest since 2011.

Signs of softer copper demand from top consumer China, where import premiums have fallen, suggest copper prices could slip, said BMO analyst Colin Hamilton.

Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) inventories typically increase rapidly around Chinese New Year, and with ShFE stocks near their lowest since 2009, the market will pay close attention to their pace of growth, he said.

CHINA HOLIDAY: Trading activity is muted, with Chinese markets closed this week for New Year celebrations.

FACTORIES: Factory activity accelerated in January in the euro zone, Britain, Japan and Russia, surveys showed. Manufacturing also expanded in the United States but at a slower pace than in recent months.

Data on Sunday showed Chinese factory activity was static in January.

INDIA STIMULUS: India said it will step up spending to 39.45 trillion rupees ($530 billion) in the coming financial year to build public infrastructure and drive economic growth.

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