Copper Climbs on Bets Gains in U.S. Economy to Bolster Demand
Copper rose to the highest closing price in two weeks as signs of economic gains bolstered prospects for metal demand in the U.S., the world’s second- biggest consumer.
Government and industry reports this week may show U.S. home purchases climbed in February to the highest in almost two years, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Separate data from the Commerce Department may signal homebuilding increased. The Copper Development Association says that construction accounts for 40 percent of demand.
“There’s some euphoria starting to appear about the U.S. economy, and that’s working to support copper,” Sterling Smith, an analyst at Country Hedging in St. Paul, Minnesota, said in a telephone interview.
Copper futures for May delivery advanced 0.8 percent to settle at $3.909 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the highest settlement since March 1. The metal has gained 14 percent this year.
In the week ended March 13, money managers increased bets on a rally by 4.7 percent to 14,259 futures and options contracts from a week earlier, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on March 19. Inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange have slumped 29 percent this year to the lowest since July 2009, statistics showed today.
Earlier, copper fell as much as 0.6 percent amid prospects for less demand in China, the top consumer of industrial metals. House prices fell in 27 of 70 cities in February, government data showed.
On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.7 percent to $8,570 a metric ton ($3.89 a pound).
Aluminum, nickel and zinc gained in London. Lead declined, and zinc was unchanged.
March 19, 2012