Chile was hit by 11 aftershock quakes in the three hours after the 8.3 earthquake.

Copper futures have rallied following a large earthquake off the coast of Chile.

An 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck this morning, 55km west of Illapel, Chile, according to the US geological survey. It was followed by several large aftershocks, and prompted tsunami warnings as far away as Hawaii.

Copper futures rose as much as 0.9 per cent to $2.47 a pound following the news. Chile is home to about a fifth of the world's reserves of copper and also the biggest copper producer, the state-owned Codelco.

So far this year, the copper price is down 12.7 per cent, but it has enjoyed a rebound from lows in recent weeks after major producers signalled they would cut output to combat the drop in prices. Supply disruptions for producers in Chile were also helping to buoy prices.

Concerns about a slowdown in China's economy, and the adverse effect that would have on demand, has weighed on the copper price this year. However, the re-emergence of an "import window" that makes it profitable to ship refined copper into China has also helped support prices.