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Copper Rises Most in a Week on China’s Trade, Auto Data

Copper futures rose the most in a week as China’s trade expanded more than forecast, and car sales jumped to a record in the Asian nation, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.

In January, exports from China surged 25 percent and imports climbed 29 percent from a year earlier, both topping projections by economists in Bloomberg surveys, government data showed today. Sales of passenger vehicles surged 49 percent, a state-backed trade group said.

“The Chinese data signals that business continues to pick up,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Futures Inc., said in a telephone interview. “Copper is being supported by overall optimism on a recovery.”

Copper futures for March delivery rose 0.9 percent to settle at $3.7595 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Feb. 1.

The International Copper Study Group says an average midsize car contains about 50 pounds of the metal.

Financial markets in China will close next week for the Lunar New Year. Imports of copper rose 2.9 percent in January from December, customs data showed today.

Stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell to 196,699 metric tons, the lowest in more than three months.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 1.1 percent to $8,294 a ton ($3.76 a pound). Aluminum, zinc tin, lead and nickel also gained.

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