Copper Advances as Growth Speeds Up in Leading Consumer China

Copper rose in London, set for a weekly advance, after economic growth sped up for the first time in two years in China, the world’s largest user of the metal.

Gross domestic product expanded 7.9 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, China’s statistics bureau said today. That exceeded the prior period’s 7.4 percent. Industrial production and retail sales topped estimates in Bloomberg surveys of analysts. Prices also gained as China said it will spend more money on railroads this year.

“The fourth quarter is a good bounce from the third quarter of 2012” and a “major factor” driving metals prices, Pengjiang “Richard” Fu, director for Asian commodities trading at Newedge Group SA in London, said by e-mail of the GDP report.

Copper for delivery in three months added 0.4 percent to $8,088 a metric ton by 10:30 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices are up 0.5 percent this week. Copper for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to $3.676 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Prices climbed the most in two weeks yesterday on the LME as figures showed housing starts in the U.S. were the highest since 2008. Still, the number of copper futures outstanding fell for a sixth session in seven as of Jan. 16, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Trading of the contracts is 12 percent behind the average for the past 100 days, the figures showed.

China will spend 650 billion yuan ($105 billion) on railroad construction this year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, more than last year’s 631 billion yuan. The International Copper Study Group says a new high-speed train can use as much as 4 tons of the metal.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME fell for a second session to 345,375 tons, daily figures showed. They expanded for a seventh week. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined from an eight-month high this week.

Orders to remove copper from LME warehouses gained 0.6 to 52,825 tons today on requests in Busan, South Korea.

Aluminum for delivery in three months rose 0.6 percent to $2,060 a ton on the LME. Chinese usage of the lightweight metal is set to climb 8.6 percent this year to 23.35 million tons, said researcher Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Zinc, tin, lead and nickel advanced.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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