The Comex copper price moved higher Thursday for a second day in technically driven buying as the Dow Jones Industrial average climbed in early trade and the dollar index was little changed after recent declines.

The Comex price for the most active month settled at $2.6445/lb, up from $2.6305/lb the prior day, marking a two-day gain of 2.6¢/lb following a 7.3¢/lb swoon in the first two days of the week.

Bart Melek, head of commodities strategy at TD Securities, said copper’s gains were largely due to technical reasons, including the weaker dollar and falling interest rates, which he said implied the Federal Reserve may be slower to hike rates.

The dollar index was little changed after weakening in five of the prior six sessions. A weaker dollar makes it cheaper in foreign currency terms to buy the metal, which tends to boost the dollar price of copper.

Melek added that the increased likelihood Republican members of the House of Representative may not support President Donald Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act in a vote slated for the afternoon today would likely throw a wrench into other Trump initiatives, including his pledge of $1trillion in infrastructure spending.

Meanwhile, striking union members at the Escondida mine in Chile said they would return to work on 25 March after invoking a clause in the national labor code that allows them work under the former union contract for an additional 18 months as of 1 February.

The union invoked the clause after its leaders failed to agree with mine owner/operator BHP Billiton in the latest talks aimed at ending the strike, now into its 43rd day.

The union said the strike would cost BHP Billiton $1bn in lost sales because of down time at the world’s largest mine and the expected delay in making it fully operational.

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