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Copper price heads for biggest weekly gain in two months

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Copper was on track for its biggest weekly rise in two months on Friday after solid US and Chinese economic data pushed global stock markets to record highs and several investment banks predicted higher prices for the metal.

Benchmark copper on LME was up 0.4% at $9,317.50 a tonne in official trading, up around 4% this week and near February’s peak of $9,617, the highest since 2011.

Copper for delivery in May was down 1.2% in afternoon trade, with futures at $4.1675 per pound ($9,165 a tonne) on the Comex market in New York.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

“The Chinese data are only really good at first glance … momentum has cooled to some extent,” Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann told Reuters.

Optimism on stock markets was supporting metals and strong demand during the second quarter — China’s traditional construction season — could lift copper further in the short term, but prices would fall later in the year, Briesemann said.

The Chinese economy grew by a record 18.3% year-on-year in the first quarter, but the expansion is expected to moderate later this year. Industrial output slowed in March to 14.1%.

In the US, retail sales rose by the most in 10 months in March.

Goldman Sachs this week raised its 12-month target for copper to $11,000 a tonne, while Citi recommended clients take on bullish copper exposure over the next few weeks.

Goldman Sachs metals strategist Nicholas Snowdon said environmental policies will drive a capex boom on par with the 1970s and 2000s over the course of the next decade and copper is the core of the green energy transition:

“We estimate nearly $16 trillion would have to go into green-focused infrastructure to achieve decarbonisation targets, compared to just $10 trillion in China during the last supercycle.”

(With files from Reuters)