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Copper Rises to 26-Month High as Chinese Manufacturing Expands

Copper jumped to a 26-month high in New York after a report showed manufacturing accelerated in China, the world’s biggest metal consumer.

China’s purchasing manager’s index rose to 53.8 in September from 51.7 in August, signaling the fastest expansion in four months, data from the country’s logistics federation and statistics bureau showed. Copper also rose as the dollar fell to the lowest level since January against a basket of six major currencies, bolstering the investment appeal of the metal.

“We are bullish longer term on copper,” said Evan Smith, who helps manage $2 billion at U.S. Global Investors Inc. in San Antonio. “China will be the biggest contributor to higher prices. Prices also get a lot of support from the dollar.”

Copper futures for December delivery climbed 3.90 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $3.6905 a pound at 1:21 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $3.722, the highest level since July 30, 2008. This week, the metal advanced 2 percent, the third straight gain.

Inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell for the fifth straight day to the lowest level since Nov. 3. Stockpiles are down 26 percent this year, on course for the first annual decline since 2004. Refined-copper output will trail demand next year, the first deficit since 2007, the International Copper Study Group said.

“Copper is getting more difficult to find,” Smith said. “There are no significant sources of supply coming into the market.”

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months climbed $86, or 1.1 percent, to $8,100 a metric ton ($3.67 a pound). The price has gained 35 percent in the past 12 months.

Tin rose $650, or 2.7 percent, to $24,900 a ton in London. Earlier, the prices reached $25,200, the highest level since May 16, 2008.

Nickel climbed $445, or 1.9 percent, to $23,845 a ton. The metal was up for the eighth straight session, the longest rally since April 2007.

Aluminum, zinc and lead also rose.

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