Copper advanced for a second day as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the government will focus more on bolstering economic growth, boosting demand.
The three-month delivery contract rose as much as 2 percent to $7,799 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $7,776.25 by 5:32 p.m. Tokyo time. The price fell 4.5 percent last week, declining for a third week. July-delivery metal gained 1.2 percent to $3.51 a pound on the Comex.
China should implement a “proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy” to maintain growth, Wen said over the weekend. Asian stocks rose, with the regional index rebounding from its biggest drop in six months, as Wen’s comment indicated the country’s policies may be loosened further.
“After reassurances by China that it would promote growth policies, we could see a quick burst to the upside,” Mark Pervan and Natalie Robertson, analysts at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a report today. “We may have to wait for the HSBC Flash PMI read later this week before the market decides to move one way or the other.”
China’s manufacturing activity preliminary reading for May will be released on May 24 by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. The purchasing managers’ index rose to 49.3 in April from 48.3 the previous month. The reading still signaled a sixth straight month of contraction.
Refined-copper imports by China declined to a eight-month low while exports gained as high inventories prompted traders to cut orders and urged smelters to move the metal out.
Inbound shipments were 272,903 tons in April, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs today. That was the lowest since August and compares with 345,667 tons in March. Exports totaled 27,420 tons, up from 26,537 tons of the previous month, customs data showed.
The September-delivery contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 1.2 percent to close at 55,890 yuan ($8,834) a ton. On the LME, aluminum was down 0.2 percent at $2,064 a ton, while zinc rose 1.1 percent to $1,914 a ton and lead gained 0.6 percent to $1,977 a ton. Nickel advanced 0.9 percent to $16,978 a ton. Tin declined 0.7 percent to $19,500 a ton.