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LONDON: Base metals prices rose in London on Wednesday, buoyed by industrial profit gains in top metals consumer China, while aluminium touched an eight-month high on technical buying and supply concerns. As trade resumed after the Christmas break, three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) gained 0.8% to $2,345 a metric ton in official open-outcry trading after hitting its highest since May 2 at $2,382.

The aluminium gains were on the back of buying by Commodity Trade Advisor (CTA) investment funds, which are largely driven by computer programmes, one trader said. Supply from Guinea, the world’s third-largest producer of alumina raw material bauxite, was also in focus after a Dec. 18 blast damaged fuel tanks at the main oil terminal handling fuel imports.

Guinea said on Saturday that supplies of fuel to petrol stations were expected to improve significantly thanks to diplomatic efforts with neighbouring countries.

“Most bauxite mines will have diesel in stock, but those stocks will not go for ever,” said Edgardo Gelsomino, aluminium assets research director at Wood Mackenzie.

“Affected mines will be able adjust their logistics to bypass the damaged infrastructure, but this may increase their delivered costs of fuel.” Aluminium is rising despite daily LME data showing that total stocks in LME-registered warehouses rose to a four-month high of 523,725 tons after delivery of 15,950 tons.

The dollar touched a five-month low on expectations that the Federal Reserve could soon cut interest rates, making dollar-priced metals more attractive for buyers using other currencies.

LME copper rose 0.5% to $8,614.5 a ton in official activity and zinc was up 0.6% at $2,617 after hitting $2,644 for its highest since Nov. 16.

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