Copper Advances on Signs of Improving Demand in U.S. and China

Copper futures advanced in New York after reports showed gains in U.S. home prices and Chinese industrial profits, adding to signs of improving demand in the world’s two biggest users of the metal.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities rose 12.1 percent in June from the same month in 2012 after rising 12.2 percent in the year ended in May, which was the biggest gain since March 2006, the group said today in a report. Profit growth for industrial companies quickened to 12 percent in July from 6.3 percent in June, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said today.

“The U.S. economy is chugging along, and that’s been enough to support copper prices,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “If we keep seeing these sorts of growth numbers out of China, copper will continue to run higher.”

Copper futures for delivery in December increased 0.7 percent to $3.35 a pound at 10:23 a.m. on the Comex in New York, heading for the biggest gain since Aug. 16.

Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG raised forecasts of China’s economic growth in the past week as data from manufacturing to exports indicated the economy is strengthening.

Signs of economic improvement in Europe also underpinned prices. Germany’s Ifo business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to the highest since April 2012. Germany is the biggest copper buyer after China and the U.S.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.2 percent to $7,345 a metric ton ($3.33 a pound).

Aluminum, tin, nickel and zinc also declined in London. Lead rose.

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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