Industrial Metals Climb as China CPI Points to Easing

Copper was seen rising in New York on speculation China is poised to take further steps to spur its economy, potentially bolstering the outlook for demand in the world’s largest consumer of the metal.

Chinese officials will intensify their response to a slowdown in the country’s economy, Premier Wen Jiabao said. He spoke as government figures showed inflation in China reached a 29-month low. Copper usage in the nation probably will keep climbing, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

“Base metals are looking strong this morning in light of tame inflation in China, stoking hopes that a monetary move by China is imminent,” RBC Capital Markets LLC said in a report.

Copper for September delivery gained 0.4 percent to $3.4215 a pound by 7:16 a.m. on the Comex in New York, rising for a first session in three. The London Metal Exchange’s three-month contract climbed 0.1 percent to $7,542 a metric ton.

“Chinese copper offtake has and likely will continue to grow in spite of weak manufacturing activity,” Max Layton, an analyst at Goldman Sachs in London, said in a report e-mailed today. He predicted 5 percent growth in demand this year.

A 50 percent jump in June property sales in eastern provinces of China compared with a year earlier will support metals demand, according to Goldman Sachs. The copper market’s focus is turning to Chinese import figures due tomorrow, Commerzbank AG said in a report, forecasting traders in the country may have taken advantage of price declines in June.

Comex copper dropped in the weeks ended June 8 and 15. Prices are down 2 percent this month.

Net-short positions, or wagers on falling copper prices, held by funds rose to 13,770 futures and options contracts as of June 26 from 11,897 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Orders to remove copper from warehouses monitored by the LME jumped 27 percent to 44,400 tons, the highest level since May 14, on gains in South Korea and New Orleans, daily exchange figures showed. Stockpiles of the metal declined for a fifth session in six to 253,350 tons.

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

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