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Copper Heads for First Weekly Gain in Three on Report

Copper gained in New York, heading for the first weekly advance in three, before a report that may show sales of new homes rose to a nine-month high in the U.S., the second biggest metal buyer.

Purchases of new homes probably climbed 2.6 percent to a 315,000 annual pace, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 77 economists before a report due at 10 a.m. today in Washington. Construction accounts for about 40 percent of demand for the metal, according to the Copper Development Association.

“New home sales will be important,” William Adams, an analyst at Basemetals.com in London, said by phone. “All eyes are really on the housing and construction market. If we see improvements in those areas, that will help keep the bullish momentum going.”

Copper for May delivery gained 0.2 percent to $3.82 a pound by 8:48 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal is up 2.8 percent this week. Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.6 percent to $8,439 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.

The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), a six-currency gauge of the greenback’s strength, fell to the lowest in two weeks. A weaker dollar makes metals prices in the currency cheaper in terms of other monies.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said yesterday it’s “experiencing work interruptions” in Indonesia as it tries to resume normal operations following the end of a strike.

Workers at the company’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia will continue to stop working until the company pays them increased wages as agreed under a December deal, which ended their three- month strike, Virgo Solossa, head of organizational affairs at the union representing the employees, said today.

Shanghai Copper Stockpiles

Copper stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell for the first time since early December, data from the bourse showed today. Inventories declined 1,056 tons to 216,086 tons, according to a survey of 10 warehouses in the city, the exchange said on its website.

Inventories tracked by the LME fell 1,375 tons to 303,500 tons, remaining at the lowest level since September 2009. Orders to draw the metal from the warehouses climbed 1,775 tons to 90,025 tons, on orders in St. Louis.

LME copper gained 9.5 percent last month and is up 11 percent this year.

Aluminum rose 0.9 percent to $2,294 a ton. Global aluminum stockpiles may total 11 million to 12 million tons, Daniel Brebner, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, said in a report e- mailed today. LME inventories, at 5.12 million tons, account for almost half of the stockpiles.

Lead and zinc rose in London while tin and nickel fell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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