Copper gained for the first time in four days as an increase in orders to remove the metal from London Metal Exchange warehouses in Asia fueled speculation that demand in China is recovering.
Copper for delivery in three months on the LME climbed as much as 0.4 percent to $8,103 a metric ton, before trading at $8,083 at 1:59 p.m. in Shanghai. Futures for delivery in April climbed 0.2 percent to 58,360 yuan ($9,373) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.
Orders to withdraw the metal from LME warehouses, or canceled warrants, have been at 29,200 tons a day in Asia since the beginning of this year, the highest since Aug. 31. Total canceled warrants fell to 70,275 tons yesterday from 71,575 tons on Jan. 4, the highest since May 4.
“The inventory level along the industry chain in China is quite low,” Lian Zheng, an analyst at Xinhu Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “Given the market consensus of a recovering economy in the first and second quarter, there are some restocking needs.”
China’s economy has the potential to grow 8 percent annually over the next 20 years should the nation reduce support for state companies and unshackle banks, said Lin Yifu, a former World Bank chief economist. The world’s second largest economy is poised to grow 8.1 percent this year, from 7.7 percent in 2012, according to the median estimates of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg last month.
Futures for March delivery on the Comex in New York traded little changed at $3.6780 per pound. Nickel, zinc and lead gained in London, while tin declined.