Copper Rises on Indications Chinese Demand Is Set to Strengthen

Copper rose for a second day in London on indications demand is poised to strengthen in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal.

Chinese refined-copper usage may speed up this year from 2012, Duan Shaofu, deputy head of the heavy metals department at the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said by phone today. The nation’s industrial production increased 9.3 percent in April from a year ago, statistics showed, near the 9.4 percent median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

“The industrial-production figures are just marginally lower than forecast,” Pengjiang “Richard” Fu, director for Asian commodities trading at Newedge Group SA in London, said by e-mail.

Copper for delivery in three months added 0.4 percent to $7,402 a metric ton by 10:29 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange, extending three weeks of advances. Copper for delivery in July rose 0.2 percent to $3.359 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Investment by China State Grid Corp. and home-appliance sales may expand more quickly this year, the China Securities Journal cited Duan as saying at an industry conference. Inventories of copper monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange reached a six-month low, figures showed last week.

Money managers reduced their net-short position, or wagers on falling copper prices, to 16,798 Comex futures and options contracts as of May 7 from 23,368 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Commodity trading advisors “continue to cover shorts, albeit at a significantly reduced pace,” George Adcock, an analyst at Marex Spectron Group in London, said by e-mail today, referring to buying of metal to close out bets on a decline. “There is a general confusion in the marketplace as to whether we head higher or take another leg lower.”

Copper stockpiles tracked by the LME rose 0.4 percent to 606,700 tons on deliveries in Johor, Malaysia, daily exchange figures showed. Inventories surged ninefold this year at the location, the biggest LME copper repository. Orders to take the metal from warehouses fell 0.4 percent to 211,950 tons after jumping 35 percent to a record in the prior session.

LME lead, nickel and tin rose as aluminum and zinc 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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