Aug 26 (Reuters) - Copper rose on Wednesday as investors cheered progress in U.S.-China trade talks and signs that researchers might be closer to a treatment for the coronavirus.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange gained 0.3% to $6,551 a tonne by 0229 GMT, while the most-traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 0.2% to 51,390 yuan ($7,444.05) a tonne.
British drugmaker AstraZeneca has begun trials of its antibody-based drug for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, the latest development in a global race to combat the pandemic.
Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal, which has seen China lagging on its obligations to buy American goods.
* LME copper inventories MCUSTX-TOTAL fell to 95,525 tonnes, their lowest since July 2006, pushing the tom-next spread MCUT-0=LX to a premium $10-a-tonne premium, a level unseen since December 2019, indicating tight nearby supplies.
* A tailwind for zinc demand from booming Chinese steel production has pushed prices of the galvanising metal to their highest in more than nine months and helped it outperform other metals, yet data such as warehouse stock levels suggest further significant gains are unlikely.
* China will maintain a “normal” monetary policy, a senior central bank official said on Tuesday, as Beijing holds off on more easing as its post-COVID-19 economic recovery gathered pace.
* LME nickel rose 0.5% to $15,055 a tonne while ShFE nickel jumped 1.7% to 119,280 yuan a tonne.
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* Asian stock were set for a choppy session, following a mixed Wall Street lead as markets cheered signs of progress in U.S.-Sino trade negotiations but remained cautious about the broader economic outlook.
1230 US Durable Goods July ($1 = 6.9035 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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