Chile Quake Toll Rises; Copper Prices Soar

Updated from 1:39 a.m. EST

CONCEPCION, Chile ( TheStreet) -- Rescuers continued to search for victims of Chile's earthquake as the death toll rose to 711, according to published media reports, but the number was likely to rise as emergency workers searched more affected areas.

Copper prices were rising Monday after the earthquake cut production in Chile, the world's biggest copper producer. The May copper contract was up 9.25 cents to $3.3765 a pound. It had risen to as high as $3.4870 a pound, the largest intraday advance since April, according to Bloomberg.

After a six-hour meeting with aides and emergency officials, President Michelle Bachelet announced the new death toll Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier, the government said 1.5 million Chileans had been affected and half a million homes had been severely damaged by the magnitude-8.8 quake that struck Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Although officials and residents of Pacific Rim areas had nervously braced for the tsunami triggered by the quake, the damage was for the most part small. The tsunami did kill several people on a Chilean island, however, according to the AP.

President Bachelet, whose term ends March 11, has declared a "state of catastrophe" in the center of the nation.

Saturday's earthquake matches a 1906 quake off the coast of Ecuador as the seventh-strongest on record, the AP reported.

The largest earthquake ever recorded occurred in 1960 and was of magnitude 9.5. It hit the same area of Chile as Saturday's quake, killing 1,655 people and leaving 2 million homeless, according to the AP.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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