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Copper Gains for Third Day as U.S. Housing Starts Beat Forecast

Copper rose for a third day as improving U.S. economic data fueled expectations that demand from the second-largest user will improve this year.

Metal for delivery in three months climbed as much as 0.3 percent to $8,085.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,067.25 at 1:11 p.m. in Shanghai. Copper advanced to a one-week high of $8,130 on Jan. 18.

Housing starts in the U.S. climbed 12.1 percent last month to a 954,000 annual rate, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists, according to Commerce Department data on Jan. 17. A Labor Department report showed fewer Americans applied for jobless benefits.

“Data from the U.S. on Friday fueled positive expectations about its economic outlook,” said Wei Hongjie, an analyst at Beite Futures Co. “We’ll probably see the global macro-economy stabilize this year, supporting metals.”

New home prices in Shanghai gained 14% in the week through Jan. 20 from the previous week, property consultant Shanghai UWin Real Estate Information Services Co. said today. Copper for delivery in April fell 0.2 percent to 58,260 yuan ($9,369) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

Futures for delivery in March on the Comex in New York fell 0.2 percent to $3.6705 per pound. Net-long positions, or wagers on rising prices, held by funds fell to 16,168 futures and options contracts as of Jan. 15 from 20,165 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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

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