Copper Rallies as U.S., China Growth Buoy Outlook for Demand

Copper rose in New York for the fourth time in five sessions on signs that economic recoveries are gaining traction in the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest metals consumers.

The index of U.S. leading indicators rose in December by the most in three months, signaling that the economy is poised to keep expanding through the first half of this year, a government report showed today. A preliminary purchasing managers’ index for China released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed manufacturing advancing this month at the fastest pace in two years.

“China is showing signs of life, and in general things are slowly moving in the right direction,” Frank Cholly, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The copper market needs a steady diet of good news like this to keep momentum.”

Copper futures for delivery in March climbed 0.1 percent to $3.6895 a pound at 11:23 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices fell as much as 0.6 percent earlier after Codelco, the biggest producer of the metal, predicted a surplus.

The Conference Board’s gauge of the U.S. outlook for the next three to six months increased 0.5 percent, the New York- based group said today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected the measure would rise 0.4 percent.

The China factory index rose to 51.9 this month. That compares with December’s final reading of 51.5 and the median estimate of 51.7 from 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months increased 0.1 percent to $8,108 a metric ton ($3.68 a pound).

Aluminum, lead, zinc and tin also gained in London. Nickel fell.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

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

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