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Copper Falls on Demand Concern as Debt Crisis Persists

Copper futures rose to a two-week high as pending sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose more than forecast, bolstering prospects for metal demand.

The index of pending home resales climbed 2 percent in January, the National Association of Realtors said. That topped the 1 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Equities erased declines after the report. The Copper Development Association says that builders account for more than 40 percent of the metal’s use.

“The housing data was a positive, and copper is moving in lockstep with equities and other risk assets,” Matthew Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “It shows that the ‘risk-on’ appetite remains very high.”

Copper futures for May delivery rose 0.5 percent to settle at $3.889 a pound at 1:06 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $3.8965, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 13. Last week, the metal climbed 4.1 percent.

Earlier, copper declined as much as 1 percent on concern that Europe’s debt crisis threatens global growth and commodity demand. The Group of 20 nations rejected calls from the euro area to increase the International Monetary Fund’s international lending resources.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.1 percent to $8,536 metric ton ($3.87 a pound).

Aluminum, zinc and lead rose in London. Nickel and tin dropped.

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