LONDON - Copper prices moved above $9,000 a tonne on Wednesday for the first time since June on hopes that Chinese demand will rebound after the country removed its COVID-19 restrictions.

Also helping was a weaker dollar. The greenback has fallen to a seven-month low due to expectations that U.S. interest rates will soon stop rising, making dollar-priced metals more affordable for buyers with other currencies.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.1% at $9,013.50 a tonne at 1150 GMT, its fifth consecutive daily gain.

The metal used in power and construction has risen around 8% already this year.

Copper fell sharply in mid-2022 as the global economy slowed, interest rates rose and the dollar strengthened.

China's retreat from its zero-COVID policy has caused a huge spike in infections, but investors expect it to lift metals demand through the year.

"It does look as if the COVID wave (in China) has peaked already and that we could see a rapid pickup in activity from now," said Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain.

But she said demand for metals was unlikely to rebound as strongly as demand for energy, the copper market would be well supplied in 2023 and prices may have risen too far too fast.

However, analysts at the Minmetals Economic Research Institute said a solid break above resistance around $8,600-$9,000 may see prices rise towards $11,000.

Global stocks markets rose.

Data this week showed new bank lending in China unexpectedly rose last month, and the central bank ramped up a liquidity injection on Wednesday.

On the supply side, a row in Panama deepened as the government doubled down on an order that First Quantum Minerals Ltd halt operations at a copper mine.

LME aluminium was up 1% at $2,488.50 a tonne, zinc gained 0.7% to $3,181.50, nickel rose 1.7% to $27,925, lead fell 0.3% to $2,193 and tin was up 3.1% at $26,650.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)