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Copper May Rise for First Day in Four on Stronger China PMI

Copper, little changed, may gain for the first time in four days after data showed that China’s manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in January, boosting the demand outlook from the world’s largest user.

The metal for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.5 percent to $8,360 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,308.50 at 1:44 p.m. Shanghai time. March-delivery copper fell 0.2 percent to $3.7820 per pound on the Comex.

China’s official purchasing managers’ index rose to 50.5 from 50.3 in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That compares with a median estimate of 49.6 in a Bloomberg survey of 17 economists. A separate PMI released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed a contraction for a third month with a reading of 48.8, compared with 48.7 a month earlier. A reading above 50 shows expansion.

“The rally last week was too fast and too soon, without fundamental support from China,” Xiao Wei, an analyst at Industrial Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “Market participants are now weighing the implications of a slow spot market on prices.”

Copper climbed 3.7 percent last week, helping to take gains in January to 9.5 percent, the best performance since October. The metal’s best start to a year since 2008 may stall as China is likely to buy less in the coming months, according to a report from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. yesterday.

April-delivery copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.4 percent to 59,760 yuan ($9,475) per ton. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4 to 2,282.89.

Pan Pacific Copper Co., Japan’s largest producer, plans to restart its Saganoseki smelter on Feb. 14, after losing about 30,000 tons of output after a fire on Jan. 7, spokesman Kouichi Shirai said today.

On the LME, aluminum rose 0.5 percent to $2,249 a ton, while zinc fell 0.4 percent to $2,098 a ton. Lead declined 0.7 percent to $2,198 a ton, nickel dropped 0.8 percent to $20,679 per ton, and tin lost 1.2 percent to $24,050 per ton.

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