Copper Advances on Bets Demand in China Will Increase

Copper futures rose as China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metal, vowed to maintain its goal for economic expansion. Aluminum and nickel also climbed.

China kept the target of 7.5 percent this year and plans to open more than 5,200 kilometers (3,231 miles) of new railroad lines and build 80,000 kilometers of highways. The country’s copper demand will pick up this year, Jiangxi Copper Co. said.

“The copper market is all about China, and the growth-target announcement shows they’re doing what they can to keep things going,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Futures Inc., said in a telephone interview. “We’re also seeing Chinese buying coming back into the market.”

Copper futures for May delivery climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $3.515 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal is down 3.8 percent this year.

Rising inventory may cap price gains, Denny said. Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange have climbed 48 percent this year to the highest since October 2011.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.6 percent to $7,772 a metric ton ($3.53 a pound).

Aluminum in London snapped the longest slump since June. The price added 0.2 percent to $1,977 a ton, after falling in the previous 11 sessions.

Nickel climbed 1.4 percent to $16,700 a ton.

Meggitt Plc, which makes parts for aircraft, said that plane deliveries are poised to keep expanding in 2013 and in coming years. Each Boeing Co. 747-400 airliner contains 171 miles of wiring and 147,000 pounds of aluminum, according to the company’s website. Jet engines use nickel alloys for strength at high temperatures, the Nickel Institute’s website shows.

Lead, zinc and tin prices also gained in London.

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