Beijing: London copper prices advanced for a second straight session on Wednesday, as a weaker dollar made the base metal cheaper for holders of other currencies, and indications of more stimulus from top consumer China buoyed investor sentiment.

In a sign of improving liquidity, Chinese banks extended far more new loans in December than expected, bringing last year’s tally to a record $2.4 trillion.

Visible copper stocks around the world are “relatively low" and could support prices, brokerage GF Futures said in a note, but warned that Chinese copper demand could still take a turn for the worse.

China copper import premiums have risen to $73 a tonne from an 18-month low of $62.50 in early December, indicating greater near-term demand for the physical metal.

■ LME copper: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.8% at $5,968 a tonne, as of 0705 GMT, extending Tuesday’s 0.4% gain.

■ SHFE copper: The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) closed up 1.1% at ¥47,380 ($7,004.94) a tonne, marking its first gain in four sessions.

■ Brexit: British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin on Tuesday, triggering political chaos.

■ China: China on Tuesday signalled more stimulus measures in the near term as it aims to achieve “a good start to 2019" in the first quarter.

■ Aluminium: London aluminium rose as much as 1.7% to a one-week high of $1,876.50 after the US Senate voted to move ahead with a resolution disapproving of a Trump administration plan to ease sanctions on Russian aluminium giant Rusal.

■ Alumina: Norsk Hydro said Brazil’s northern state of Para has lifted a production embargo on its Alunorte alumina refinery but noted full production will not resume until a federal court follows suit.

■ Other metals: Zinc rose as much as 2.6% in Shanghai to ¥20,890 a tonne, the highest since 21 December, before closing at ¥20,860. The metal used to galvanise steel was also up 1.7% in London. Shanghai nickel closed up 1.6% at ¥93,230 a tonne after hitting its highest since 3 December 2018.

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