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Copper Rises as China’s Imports Climb to Nine-Month High

Copper futures rebounded from a one-week low after imports climbed to the highest since September in China, the world’s top consumer of industrial metals.

Shipments of refined metal, alloy and products increased 5.9 percent to 379,951 metric tons in June from May, government figures showed today. China’s total imports and exports unexpectedly dropped last month, spurring speculation that the government may take measures to support economic growth. Equities rallied the most in three months.

“The metal-import numbers were encouraging, and there have been signs that China is doing some stockpiling in copper,” Bill O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “The overall drop in the trade numbers begs the question as to whether recent moves to keep things tighter will continue.”

Copper futures for September delivery climbed 0.9 percent to settle at $3.091 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, the metal touched $3.025, the lowest since June 28, as a drop in Chinese producer prices stoked concerns that demand may ebb.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release minutes today on June’s policy meeting, which may give signals on whether the central bank will keep buying $85 billion of debt each month to bolster the U.S. economy. The nation is the second-biggest copper user.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell 0.6 percent to 646,000 tons, the fourth straight decline.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.4 percent to $6,825 a ton ($3.10 a pound) Aluminum, tin, nickel, lead and zinc also gained.

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