Copper May Climb for Third Day on Bets China Demand Will Grow

Copper, little changed, may climb for a third day on speculation that China may loosen its monetary policy to spur economic growth in the world’s biggest consumer of the metal. Tin and nickel gained.

Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.4 percent to $7,791.25 a metric ton before trading at $7,765 a ton at 3:01 p.m. Seoul time on the London Metal Exchange. The March- delivery contract advanced 0.5 percent to $3.5255 a pound on the Comex in New York.

“Chinese authorities have begun a selective easing,” Natalie Robertson, an analyst with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a report today. They “will likely shift broader monetary policy toward a less restrictive stance as well, which will be supportive for industrial metals going forward.”

China’s banks made 586.8 billion yuan ($92.5 billion) in new loans last month, exceeding September’s 470 billion yuan and all 18 estimates in a Bloomberg survey, signaling China may be loosening credit limits to sustain growth amid Europe’s debt crisis. The report was released by the central bank on Nov. 11 after the market close.

Consumer price gains slowed to 5.5 percent in October from a three-year high of 6.5 percent in July, giving the government greater scope to unwind monetary tightening as Europe’s debt crisis and a U.S. slowdown hurt exports.

Copper, used in pipes and wires, has declined 19 percent this year after reaching a record $10,190 a ton on Feb. 15.

LME zinc was little changed at $1,944.75 a ton and nickel rose 0.4 percent to $17,870 per ton. Aluminum was little changed at $2,162 per ton and tin climbed 0.6 percent to $21,600 a ton. Lead dropped 1.2 percent to $2,031 per ton.

China Zinc

China’s 2011 refined zinc output may drop 2.1 percent to 5.1 million tons and consumption may rise 6.1 percent to 5.2 million tons, Chen Quanxun, chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said at a conference in Kunming.

China has shuttered almost 90 percent of lead-acid battery makers in a government crackdown to curb lead poisoning cases, cutting sales and weighing on lead prices, said Cao Guoqing, deputy secretary general of the China Battery Industry Association.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sungwoo Park in Seoul at spark47@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net.

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