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Miners surge as metals poised for first weekly rise this year

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Miners surged as copper held its biggest advance in five weeks amid talk of stimulus measures in Europe, and pledges by senior Chinese policymakers to limit volatility in the country's financial markets.

[SHANGHAI] Miners surged as copper held its biggest advance in five weeks amid talk of stimulus measures in Europe, and pledges by senior Chinese policymakers to limit volatility in the country's financial markets.

BHP Billiton Ltd, the world's biggest miner, rose as much as 8.7 per cent in Sydney, while Glencore Plc surged as much as 10 per cent in Hong Kong. Copper in London held to yesterday's 1.6 per cent advance, the biggest since Dec 18, and was little changed at US$4,426 a metric ton by 11:17 am in Shanghai. The Bloomberg World Mining Index rose a second day, adding 0.7 per cent to its 1.8 per cent gain on Thursday.

Metals are poised for the first weekly gain this year after the head of the European Central Bank said he will consider further monetary easing, and Chinese officials at the Davos forum in Switzerland sought to ease concerns over the leadership's ability to successfully steer the world's biggest metals consumer into an era of slower growth.

"The market thinking around China is hard to follow," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd in Sydney. "There has been a period of sentiment-driven trading since the beginning of the year, where data points in one direction but fear stalks the market. People are short or square and if you do get some buying it can reverse pretty quickly and start a scramble."

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Iron ore miners such as BHP and Rio Tinto Group also benefited from a rise in prices of the steelmaking ingredient after Vale SA, the world's largest producer, was ordered to temporarily close a main port following alleged environmental breaches.

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