Copper rose the most in two weeks on speculation that policy makers will roll out additional stimulus measures after economic growth slowed to a three-year low in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.
Gross domestic product expanded 7.6 percent last quarter from a year earlier, Chinese government data showed today. That compared with a median forecast of 7.7 percent in a Bloomberg survey and the 8.1 percent pace in the first quarter. On July 5, the central bank announced the second interest-rate cut in a month.
“This puts stimulus back on the table,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “China and the U.S. are going to have to do some sort of stimulus for the global economy to get back on track, and copper is a good indicator that people think it will happen.”
Copper futures for September delivery gained 2.6 percent to settle at $3.504 a pound at 1:20 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since June 29. The metal rose 2.8 percent this week.
Through yesterday, the metal dropped 11 percent since March 30 amid mounting concern that the sagging global economy would cut metal demand. Traders were the most bearish in six weeks. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg said they expect prices to drop next week, while nine were bullish and six were neutral.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 1.9 percent to $7,700 a metric ton ($3.49 a pound).
Nickel, zinc, aluminum, lead and tin also rose in London.