Aluminum and zinc rallied on speculation that prices near the lowest levels since November will stoke demand from China, the world’s largest user.
Zinc for delivery in three months climbed as much as 1.2 percent to $1,984 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, and was at $1,970.50 at 1:43 p.m. in Shanghai. The metal tumbled to $1,928 yesterday, the lowest price in intraday trading since Nov. 23. Aluminum rose 0.2 percent to $1,956 a ton, after dropping to $1,934.85 yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 22.
China’s wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport-utility vehicles, rose 20 percent to 2.84 million units in January and February, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was the strongest start since 2010. Zinc, used to galvanize steel, and aluminum are widely used in car production.
“It’s a good time to buy,” Zhang Tianfeng, an analyst at Dongxing Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. Investors are betting on an increase in infrastructure spending after the new leadership takes office, Zhang said.
China is holding a once-a-decade leadership transition at the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, which is to be completed on March 17. Fixed-asset investment excluding rural areas in the first two months of the year rose 21.2 percent, more than economists’ estimated and the 20.6 percent pace for the whole of 2012.
Copper declined 0.2 percent to $7,741.50 a ton in London, while the contract for May delivery on the Comex in New York fell 0.2 percent to $3.509 a pound. The metal for June delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was little changed at 56,480 yuan ($9,087) a ton.
Nickel fell 0.7 percent to $16,765 a ton, after rising to $16,895 yesterday, the highest level since Feb. 25.
— With assistance by Helen Sun