Copper climbed the most in two weeks as surging new-home sales in the U.S. signaled stronger metal demand, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended stimulus measures intended to spur growth.
Purchases of new homes in the U.S. jumped 15.6 percent in January from December to the highest level since July 2008, a report from the Commerce Department showed today. “We do not see the potential costs of the increased risk-taking in some financial markets as outweighing the benefits of promoting a stronger economic recovery,” Bernanke said today in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.
“The housing data was bullish,” Carlos Perez-Santalla, a broker at PVM Futures Inc. in Hoboken, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “Bernanke’s statements pushed the right buttons, and we are seeing higher prices.”
Copper futures for May delivery added 0.6 percent to settle at $3.583 a pound on the Comex at 1:15 p.m. in New York, the biggest gain since Feb. 8. Volume was almost double the average in the past 100 days.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-month delivery rose 0.3 percent to $7,858 a metric ton ($3.56 a pound). Stockpiles monitored by the exchange increased for a ninth session to 438,375 tons, the highest since Oct. 25, 2011.
Aluminum for delivery in three months declined 0.7 percent to $2,023 a ton after touching $2,010, the lowest since Nov. 29.
Zinc, lead and tin climbed in London. Nickel fell.