* Dollar falls to four-week low after Fed rate hike
* Mine disputes result in 200,000 T of lost copper output
* Global zinc and lead markets start year in deficit -ILZSG
(Updates with closing prices)
By Peter Hobson
LONDON, March 16 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.
"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
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
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.
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