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Copper Advances as Growth Speeds Up in Leading Consumer China

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Copper rose in New York to the highest in a week after economic growth sped up for the first time in two years in China, the world’s largest user.

Gross domestic product expanded 7.9 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, China’s statistics bureau said today. That exceeded the previous period’s 7.4 percent increase and the 7.8 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Copper prices climbed the most in two weeks yesterday on better-than-expected U.S. homebuilding data.

“We are seeing a second day of gain in metals, with the stronger tone attributable to long-awaited Chinese macro numbers released earlier in the day,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a report today.

Copper futures for delivery in March added 0.5 percent to settle at $3.679 a pound at 1:20 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $3.6975, the highest since Jan. 11. The metal climbed 0.7 percent this week.

Prices also gained as China said it will spend more money to build railroads this year. China will spend 650 billion yuan ($105 billion) on railroad construction, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, more than last year’s 631 billion yuan. The International Copper Study Group says a new high-speed train can use as much as 4 metric tons of the metal.

Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell for a second session, to 345,375 tons, daily figures showed. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined from an eight-month high this week.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.1 percent to $8,061 a ton ($3.66 a pound).

Zinc, tin and lead also advanced in London, while aluminum, and nickel were lower.

To contact the reporters on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net; Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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