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Copper Advances to 20-Week High as China Pledges Housing Support

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose to a 20-week high after the government pledged to support first-time homebuyers in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal used in pipes and wires.

Officials will boost support for affordable-housing construction, the People’s Bank of China said yesterday. The Copper Development Association estimates that builders account for more than 40 percent of the metal’s use.

“Copper is particularly strong on news that China’s central bank pledged yesterday to support the local housing market, underpinning a key demand source for the metal,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a report.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery advanced 0.9 percent to close at $3.9095 a pound at 1:19 p.m., the highest settlement for a most-active contract since Sept. 16. The price has gained 14 percent this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.2 percent to $8,580 a metric ton ($3.89 a pound).

The price may reach $9,000 this month, Meir said.

Stockpiles monitored by the LME have slumped 15 percent this year to the lowest since Sept. 8, 2009.

Tin, aluminum, nickel, lead and zinc fell on the LME.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net; 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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