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FTSE 100 hits over two-week high as China eases COVID curbs

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

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By Boleslaw Lasocki

(Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 index hit its highest level in more than two weeks on Tuesday, as commodity stocks led the gains after China's decision to ease some COVID-19 curbs boosted sentiment globally.

China slashed the quarantine time for inbound travellers by half, in a major easing of one of the world's strictest COVID-19 curbs. That sent global equities and commodity prices higher on Tuesday.

The blue-chip index FTSE 100 climbed 0.9% to its highest since June 10, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index edged up 0.1%.

Industrial metals and mining stocks gained 2.7%, while oil majors added 2.2%, as metals and crude prices gained on hopes of a demand revival in the world's second-biggest economy. [O/R] [MET/L]

"Anything that relies on the Chinese consumer to really give it a big boost seems to be doing pretty well today", AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson said.

"It does look like a lot of investors now have decided that they are going to buy the dip because it does appear like demand from China will now pick up."

The FTSE 100 has outperformed its global peers this year due to a large presence of commodity, healthcare, and consumer companies on the index, which have benefited from a surge in energy prices and global growth worries.

Oilfield services provider Petrofac Ltd gained 4.2% after saying its half-year trading was in line with expectations as an upswing in oil prices raised demand.

The UK insurer index edged 1.9% higher after finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday the state wants to reform insurer solvency rules quickly.

Utility Pennon fell 6.3% to the bottom of the mid-cap index after Britain's water regulator opened an enforcement case against the company.

(Reporting by Boleslaw Lasocki in Gdansk; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh.V)