Copper Rises to Three-Week High as Manufacturing May Spur Demand for Metal

Copper prices rose to a three-week high on speculation that a recovery in the global economy will boost demand for electrical wire and plumbing.

Global inventories of copper monitored by the London Metal Exchange, Shanghai Futures Exchange and the Comex have slumped 20 percent since the end of June to the lowest since November 2009. Manufacturing in the U.S., Europe, China and India grew in November, a sign that the global recovery is gaining traction.

“I like copper and the industrial area,” said James Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, which manages about $350 billion. “Manufacturing is clearly taking a leadership role in this recovery in the U.S., and growth in the emerging world tends to be more industrial- commodity based.”

Copper futures for delivery in March rose 0.9 cent, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $4.008 a pound at 1:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after reaching $4.029, the highest for a most- active contract since Nov. 12.

Copper has jumped 39 percent since July 1, reaching a 30- month high of $4.0875 on Nov. 11.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months added $44.50, or 0.5 percent, to $8,769.50 a metric ton ($3.98 a pound).

“Increased demand and low inventories will likely push copper to a new record of $11,250 a ton in 2011,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a report dated Dec. 3. Prices reached a record $8,966 on Nov. 11.

Lead and nickel also gained in London. Tin and aluminum fell. Zinc was little changed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yi Tian in New York at Ytian8@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.

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