Copper traded near a two-week high on mine-supply concerns and amid comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials supporting its stimulus program before Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testifies in Congress today.
Metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange climbed as much as 0.3 percent to $7,393.25 a metric ton and was at $7,377.75 as of 11:13 a.m. in Tokyo. The price touched $7,450 yesterday, the highest since May 8. Futures for delivery in July on the Comex were little changed at $3.3445 a pound.
Operations will remain suspended at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s Grasberg complex in Indonesia until an investigation of a tunnel collapse that killed 28 people is concluded, the government said yesterday. Bernanke will testify as economists forecast U.S. existing home sales climbed in April to the highest since November 2009. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said yesterday the central bank should keep buying bonds and New York Fed President William Dudley said it had been overly optimistic about growth.
“Copper was supported by concerns over mine supply and expectation that Bernanke will continue monetary easing,” said Tetsu Emori, the chief fund manager at Astmax Asset Management Inc. in Tokyo. Those factors outweighed data that showed China’s copper imports dropped to the lowest in 22 months, he said.
April shipments of refined metal into China tumbled 33 percent to 183,023 tons, the lowest since June 2011, from a year earlier, government data showed yesterday. The contract for September delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.3 percent to 53,240 yuan ($8,679) a ton.
On the LME, zinc also climbed, while aluminum and lead were lower.