Copper Futures Rise Most in Two Weeks on Stimulus Bets

April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures jumped the most in two weeks on speculation that central banks will take more steps to spur economic growth.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG are among analysts expecting that the European Central Bank will cut its key interest rate to a record as the euro-region slumps. The Bank of England said that it will extend a plan aimed at providing cheaper loans to companies and consumers for a year.

“The talk of further stimulus is the single biggest catalyst for copper,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The idea that we’ll see an end to stimulus soon is slowly losing its grip, and that will definitely be supportive of metals.”

Copper futures for July delivery rose 2 percent to settle at $3.165 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since April 9.

Yesterday, the metal touched $3.0685, the lowest in 18 months, on concern that slowing economies from the U.S. to China would reduce demand as supplies expand.

Positioning in copper was “extremely short,” leaving the market “increasingly vulnerable” to a rally, Gayle Berry, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London, said in a report on April 19.

Energy and industrial metals led commodities higher. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials headed for the biggest gain this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 2.3 percent to $7,030 a metric ton ($3.19 a pound). Aluminum, nickel, zinc, lead and tin climbed.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net; Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net