Copper Gains as Greek Acccord Eases Debt-Crisis Concern

Copper surged the most since November after a second bailout for Greece eased concern that a European debt crisis will crimp metals demand, and as China took steps to spur bank lending and economic growth. Aluminum also rallied.

European finance ministers approved 130 billion euros ($173 billion) in aid for Greece by tapping into European Central Bank profits and coaxing investors into providing more debt relief to shield the region from a default. The proportion of cash that Chinese lenders must set aside will fall half a percentage point as of Feb. 24, the People’s Bank of China said Feb. 18, lowering the requirement for the second time in three months. China is the world’s largest copper user.

“Copper is up on optimism surrounding the Greek bailout, coupled with a decision by the Bank of China to reduce the reserve requirements for Chinese banks,” Scott Gardner, the chief investment officer at Verdmont Capital SA in Panama, said in an e-mail.

Copper futures for May delivery climbed 3.5 percent to settle at $3.8445 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Nov. 30. Prices slumped 6.6 percent in the previous six sessions.

Imports of refined copper by China fell 18 percent in January from a record in December, the first drop in eight months, customs figures showed today.

Production Disruption

A worker died in an accident at Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc’s Collahuasi copper mine in Chile yesterday, shutting down the mine. Snowstorms at Collahuasi, the world’s third-largest copper mine, disrupted production earlier this week at the site, 4,400 meters (14,426 feet) above sea level.

“Incidents like these are indicative of the kind of fundamental issues copper producers face,” William O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-month delivery gained 2.6 percent to $8,449 a metric ton ($3.83 a pound), the biggest jump since Feb. 3.

Stockpiles monitored by the LME, down 18 percent this year, slid for a fifth session to 305,425 tons, remaining at the lowest level since September 2009.

Aluminum for three-month delivery advanced 3.5 percent to $2,255 a ton, rising the most since Nov. 30. Zinc, nickel, lead and tin also surged in London.

(Corrects spelling of “copper” in headline.)