March 16, 2017 / 11:51 AM / 4 months ago

METALS-Copper rises as dollar dips after Fed rate increase

3 Min Read

* Dollar falls to four-week low after Fed rate hike

* Mine disputes result in 200,000 T of lost copper output -Goldman

* Global zinc and lead markets start year in deficit -ILZSG (Updates with closing prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Copper rose for a fifth session on Thursday as stoppages at three of the world's biggest mines raised supply concerns and a weaker dollar made metals cheaper for holders of foreign currencies.

The dollar sank to a four-week low against a basket of currencies after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time in three months, as expected, but said that further increases would be gradual.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed up 0.7 percent at $5,908 a tonne.

The metal used in power and construction has gained 4.5 percent since touching an eight-week low of $5,652 on March 9.

"Concerns about mine strikes and optimism over the health of the economy and infrastructure spending are driving base metals higher," said Hamza Khan at ING.

Industrial action at Chile's Escondida mine and Peru's Cerro Verde, along with a dispute over mining rights at Indonesia's Grasberg, have resulted in 200,000 tonnes of lost production, Goldman Sachs estimates. The mines together account for 13 percent of global copper supply, the bank says.

Striking workers at Escondida on Thursday blocked attempts by the mine's owner to renew operations at a key port nearby.

Goldman said the market was eating through excess supplies from last year and the copper price could rise to $6,200 over the next three months.

"We expect to see physical tightness appear over the coming weeks ... stocks should begin drawing over the next two weeks and concentrate de-stocking is running its course," the bank said in a note.

However, stocks of copper at LME-registered warehouses have risen more than 70 percent this month to 339,025 tonnes. MCU-STOCKS

"That makes it seem like that inventory was just being held off-exchange and we're stuck with a lot more copper than we assumed," ING's Khan said.

Chinese data on Thursday showed that its base metals output rose quickly in the first two months of the year as producers responded to higher prices by ramping up output.

"There are some downside pressures that are currently being overlooked," said Khan.

In other metals, lead closed down 0.2 percent at $2,243 a tonne and zinc finished 0.8 percent higher at $2,829.

The global zinc market was in deficit by 27,000 tonnes in January and the lead market deficit more than doubled to 15,000 tonnes, data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) showed.

Aluminium closed 0.7 percent higher at $1,900, nickel rose 0.1 percent to $10,215 and tin ended up 1.4 percent at $20,150.

Prices

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

Additional reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by David Goodman

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