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Copper Drops as LME, Comex Warehouse Stockpiles Advance

Aluminum gained for a third straight day in London as better-than-expected results from Alcoa Inc. pointed to stronger metals demand. Tin rose to an 11-month high.

Aluminum demand in China, the top metals user, will climb 11 percent this year, helped by stimulus spending announced by the country’s new leadership, the New York-based company said. Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported fourth-quarter sales yesterday that beat analyst estimates.

“Alcoa expressed optimism about the prospects on the global aluminum market,” Commerzbank AG analysts including Carsten Fritsch said in a report. “In China itself, Alcoa anticipates demand to soar.”

Aluminum for delivery in three months added 0.4 percent to settle at $2,075 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The metal climbed 0.3 percent in the previous two sessions.

Figures tomorrow will show that Chinese imports and exports gained in December, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, adding to evidence that the economy is gaining traction.

“The export numbers are expected to show the Chinese economy is continuing to grow, and overall we have a better demand picture,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Futures Inc., said in a telephone interview. “The Alcoa numbers were good, and that took markets higher.”

Tin for delivery in three months jumped 2 percent to $24,645 a ton. Earlier, the metal touched $24,650, the highest since mid-February.

Copper was unchanged at $8,080 a ton ($3.67 a pound), while nickel rose in London. Lead and zinc slipped.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in March fell less than 0.1 percent to $3.6705 a pound, the fifth straight loss. The streak of declines is the longest since the end of October.

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