Copper Advances as U.S., German Economic Data Boost Outlook

Copper rose in New York for the first time in three sessions as stronger-than-estimated U.S. retail sales and German economic growth bolstered the demand outlook for the metal.

Retail sales in the U.S. increased 0.8 percent in July, the first gain in four months and above the 0.3 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The German economy expanded 0.3 percent in the second quarter from the prior period, more than the 0.2 percent estimate of economists, Federal Statistics Office figures showed. The U.S. and Germany are the second- and third-biggest consumers of the metal.

“There’s more optimism out there, and that’s what the market is reflecting,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “We seem to be seeing more good economic reports lately, so we may be turning the corner. And any good news out of Europe is going to have a direct impact on copper.”

Copper futures for December delivery climbed 0.2 percent to settle at $3.371 a pound at 1:06 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The contract fell 2.1 percent in the previous two sessions.

China is the largest copper consumer.

Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange slid 0.7 percent to 237,500 metric tons, the lowest since June 11, daily exchange figures showed.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.3 percent to $7,416 a ton ($3.36 a pound).

Nickel for delivery in three months on the LME added 0.6 percent to $15,470 a ton. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses jumped 57 percent to 15,630 tons, the highest since at least October 1997, on bookings in Johor, Malaysia.

Tin advanced in London, while lead and aluminum fell. Zinc was unchanged.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net; Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net

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

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