Copper prices hit fresh two-year highs Wednesday, building on momentum from improved forecasts for Chinese economic growth from the International Monetary Fund.
Copper for September delivery was recently up 1% at $2.8755 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, on track for its fifth straight session of gains.
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Prices rose to the highest level since May 2015, after seeing a sharp uptick Tuesday on the IMF's stronger Chinese GDP figures, analysts said.
Also buoying copper was news out of China that the government is looking to ban scrap imports for copper extraction, a process that raises pollution levels, according to Xiao Fu, head of commodity strategy at Bank of China International.
"That could take 900,000 tons of content copper [not pure copper] out of the Chinese market, which is potentially very impactful," Ms. Fu said.
"Given that we already saw supply tightness lead China to switch to copper imports earlier this year, this could see a pickup in concentrate and refined copper imports," the strategist said.
China imported 3.3 million tons of copper scrap and waste in 2016, according to Investec.
Copper's gains also came partly thanks to a backdrop of broader market positivity, Marex Spectron broker Alastair Munro said.
Gold prices ticked lower thanks to the dollar's minor rally. Futures for August delivery fell 0.3% to $1,247.80 a troy ounce in New York. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of other currencies, moved 0.1% higher to 86.77.
Investors were looking to the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision, due Wednesday, and U.S. GDP figures, expected Friday.
Stephanie Yang contributed to this article.
Write to David Hodari at David.Hodari@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 26, 2017 11:59 ET (15:59 GMT)