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Copper Rises on China Demand Speculation, Producers’ Struggles

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Copper rose in New York, rebounding from the biggest drop in seven weeks, on renewed concern that the world’s mines will fail to keep pace with demand in China, the largest global buyer of the metal.

China’s government signaled a commitment to growth for the second time in four days. A measure of Chinese copper use was at the second-highest on record in April, Max Layton, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst, said in a report. Mine output at Codelco, the largest producer, fell 10 percent in the first quarter because of lower ore grades. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose for the first time in three days.

“We’re seeing a respite from selling across the board,” Matthew Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The thinking is that China will continue to ease, and that’s helping buoy markets. Output and inventory issues are also going to help keep a floor under copper prices.”

Copper futures for July delivery rose 1 percent to settle at $3.4285 a pound at 1:11 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, prices slid 2.6 percent, the most since April 4.

China’s leaders pledged to intensify “fine-tuning” of policies, indicating a commitment to growth as domestic demand slows and the euro-area debt crisis escalates. Manufacturing in the country may shrink for a seventh month in May, a private survey showed, reinforcing the need for stimulus.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange, down 40 percent this year, fell 0.7 percent to 224,075 metric tons, daily exchange figures showed.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 1 percent to $7,610 a metric ton ($3.45 a pound).

Nickel, aluminum, zinc, tin and lead rose in London.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net; Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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