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METALS-LME copper hits 1-week high on hopes of more China stimulus

Mai Nguyen

(Adds quotes; updates prices)

Feb 5 (Reuters) - London copper hit a one-week high on Wednesday on hopes that more Chinese stimulus measures would cushion the economic damage from a virus outbreak, although gains were capped as the death toll touched nearly 500.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange touched $5,708 a tonne, its highest since Jan. 29, before easing to $5,680 by 0718 GMT, a gain of 1.1%. Nickel jumped 2% to $13,090 a tonne and zinc rose 1.1% to $2,191 a tonne.

"We expect some short-term headwinds to copper demand from China as a result of the novel coronavirus epidemic," Fitch Solutions analyst Sabrin Chowdhury said, adding Chinese copper consumption could grow 2.5% in 2020 to 11.95 million tonnes.

"Demand should pick up by the second quarter of 2020, especially as the Chinese government will boost stimulus measures to cushion the domestic economy ... and hit economic targets set out earlier," Chowdhury said.

Shanghai Futures Exchange's most-traded copper contract rose 1.1% to 45,550 yuan a tonne, nickel jumped 1.4% to 105,130 yuan a tonne while other metals were mixed.

"Night session is closed and short-selling is not allowed. All the buying will be done in day session. So you'll get double the buying volumes during Asian hours, only for the rally to fade in the London and U.S. hours," a base metals trader said.

ShFE has closed its night trading session since Monday to control the virus outbreak.

China's central bank said on Wednesday it could fully meet demand for liquidity, after injecting a total of 1.7 trillion yuan of funds in the previous two sessions.

FUNDAMENTALS

* DEATH TOLL: The death toll in China due to the virus outbreak crossed 490, while there were 24,324 people infected, latest data showed.

* VIRUS IMPACT: Companies around the world have warned that the outbreak in China could disrupt supply chains or hurt profits.

* CHINA TRADE: China's exports and imports likely fell in January after a brief rebound at the end of 2019.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

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

ARBS (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Uttaresh.V)