Copper Futures Rise Most in a Week as Europe Takes Steps to Stem Debt Woes

Copper rose the most in more than a week after European leaders agreed to increase a rescue fund and tighten budget rules to stem the region’s debt crisis.

European officials meeting in Brussels plan to boost rescue funds by as much as 200 billion euros ($267 billion). Copper also gained on speculation that China, the world’s biggest consumer, may take more steps to stoke growth after inflation slowed and industrial production climbed less than forecast.

Investors have “all eyes on Europe,” Robert Montefusco, a trader at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said in an e-mail. The additional funding to stem the crisis is “a step in the right direction,” he said.

Copper futures for March delivery increased 1.6 percent to close at $3.5575 a pound at 1:24 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Nov. 30. For the week, the metal dropped 0.8 percent and extended its decline this year to 20 percent.

In China, consumer prices in November increased 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the smallest gain in 14 months, and the 12.4 percent increase in industrial output was below the median estimate of 12.6 percent in a Bloomberg News survey.

“The price data makes the case for further monetary easing by the government in the weeks ahead and could provide the basis for a modest degree” of support for metals, Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a report.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.4 percent to $7,815 a metric ton ($3.54 a pound).

Lead, nickel, zinc and tin also climbed in London. Aluminum settled unchanged, after gaining as much as 1.1 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yi Tian in New York at ytian8@bloomberg.net; Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

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

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