METALS-Copper marches towards 7-year high as vaccine hopes lift sentiment

(Updates prices, adds quotes)

By Mai Nguyen

Nov 26 (Reuters) - London copper prices rose to near seven-year highs on Thursday on hopes that progress on COVID-19 vaccine developments would lead to a speedy global economic revival.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange advanced 1.1% to $7,380.50 a tonne by 0448 GMT, having hit $7,390 a tonne earlier in the session, the highest since Jan. 3, 2014.

The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose to a 34-month high at 55,220 yuan ($8,408.33) a tonne.

"Vaccine is a game changer and now we have at least three in the making. There has been a massive stimulus injection globally. We need to reprice most assets," said commodities broker Anna Stablum of Marex Spectron.

AstraZeneca (AZN), Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna (MRNA) reported positive results in their coronavirus vaccine trials.

"It might look grim in the near term with more deaths and higher unemployment, but these are futures markets. The biggest risk for me is a stronger dollar," she added.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The speculative net long in LME copper rose to 18% of open interest on Monday, close to this year's high of 18.1% on July 13, Marex Spectron's data showed.

* "China seems to be coming back into these markets as buyers - we see price moves during Asian hours and the copper (import) premiums are finding a floor," Stablum said.

* LME aluminium rose 0.6% to $1,981.50 a tonne and nickel advanced 0.1% to $16,080 a tonne. In Shanghai, nickel fell 1.2% to 119,030 yuan a tonne.

* A surge in scrap metal usage due to strict environmental policies could slash global demand for primary aluminium by almost half and for primary copper by more than a third by 2040, Wood Mackenzie said.

* The price difference between three-month aluminium contracts on the ShFE and LME hit $138.90 a tonne, the highest level since February 2014.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.5673 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Shounak Dasgupta)

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