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Copper Rises as China’s Imports Gain After Two-Month Drop

Copper futures rose for the first time in three sessions as imports increased in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.

Shipments jumped 12 percent in May from April, the first increase in three months, Chinese government data showed yesterday. Spain sought as much as 100 billion euros ($125 billion) following weeks of escalating concern that bad loans at the country’s banks might overwhelm public finances.

“Any positive data out of China is going to help drive metals prices higher,” Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “If Spain gets help, it’s going to help put people’s minds at ease” on the outlook for European economies, he said.

Copper futures for July delivery advanced 1.8 percent to settle at $3.343 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has fallen 13 percent this quarter on concern that easing growth in China and faltering economies in Europe will pinch demand.

Concern that a Greek exit from the euro will roil financial markets may limit price gains, Zeman said.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months increased 1.7 percent to $7,420 a metric ton ($3.37 a pound)

Zinc, nickel and lead advanced in London. Aluminum and tin fell.

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