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Copper Advances on Prospects for Chinese Growth, Japan Stimulus

Copper rose for the third time this week as the outlook for demand brightened with improved economic growth in China, the world’s biggest user of the metal, and speculation that Japan will expand stimulus measures.

Chinese exports, output and retail sales are rising, reports in the past week showed, while a leadership change outlined yesterday may signal more spending on highways and rail to spur growth. Japan’s Topix Index rose amid speculation that newly announced elections may put in power a party pushing for more central bank easing and stimulus spending.

“People are feeling that China may be going into next year a bit more aggressively on buying metals,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Futures Inc., said in a telephone interview.

Copper futures for delivery in March gained 0.2 percent to settle at $3.4735 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The contract is up 0.5 percent this week. In October, prices dropped 6.4 percent, the biggest decline since May.

China’s economy is showing signs of stabilizing, including in its housing market, Andrew Harding, the chief executive officer of London-based Rio Tinto Group’s copper unit, said at a conference in New York yesterday. The full impact of the country’s stimulus measures probably won’t be seen until early 2013 and after the changes in government leadership are complete, he said.

“Regime changes in China and possibly Japan bring with them the prospect of more stimulus,” Michael Turek, a senior director at Newedge Group SA in New York, said by e-mail.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell less than 0.1 percent to $7,639.50 a metric ton ($3.47 a pound).

Zinc, tin and lead advanced on the LME, while aluminum and nickel were lower.

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