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Copper Gains for First Time in Three Days on China Demand

Copper climbed for the first time in three days on speculation that China’s plan to seek growth of higher “quality and efficiency” next year will bolster demand for industrial metals in the largest consumer.

Metal for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.5 percent to $8,104.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $8,085.50 by 3:07 p.m. Shanghai time. The contract gained 6.4 percent this year. Copper for March delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.5 percent to close at 58,130 yuan ($9,326) a ton.

Chinese leaders vowed to target “sustained and healthy development” next year by maintaining a “prudent” monetary policy and a “proactive” fiscal policy as they concluded a two-day central economic work conference in Beijing yesterday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“These policies are good for China in the long term, and are what China needs at the moment,” said Fang Junfeng, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO Futures Co. “Recent economic data are fairly good, fueling a rally in stocks, which seems to be helping boost commodity sentiment.”

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose, extending the biggest rally in three years, amid speculation state-backed institutions were buying shares after preliminary reading of a purchasing managers’ index for December showed manufacturing expansion accelerated on Dec. 14.

Copper for immediate delivery on Shanghai’s Changjiang market traded at a premium of 60 yuan a ton today to the front-month SHFE contract, compared with a discount of 25 yuan a ton a week earlier.

The March contract on the Comex was little changed at $3.6875 a pound. Net-long positions, or wagers on rising prices, held by funds were 22,123 futures and options contracts as of Dec. 11, compared with 13,481 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

On the LME, tin climbed, while aluminum, zinc, lead, and nickel were little changed.

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