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Copper Rises on U.S. Factory Gains, China Stimulus Bets

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose for the first time in three days on gains in U.S. manufacturing and speculation that China may take steps to boost its economy.

Output at factories, mines and utilities in June climbed 0.3 percent, the most in four months, a Federal Reserve report showed today. The 21st Century Business Herald reported that China’s cabinet may lay out economic plans tomorrow for the second half. The Asian nation is the world’s biggest user of industrial metals, followed by the U.S.

“Copper was already rising ahead of the industrial-production numbers, and China may be slowing, but there’s still demand there,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think the government is going to allow China’s economy to slump materially.”

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery rose 1.3 percent to settle at $3.1865 a pound at 1:18 p.m. The metal fell 1 percent in the two previous sessions.

Manufacturing, which accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. economy, increased 0.3 percent in June, the Fed data showed. Economists projected a 0.2 percent increase, according to the median in a Bloomberg survey.

A report yesterday showed that economic growth slowed for the ninth time in 10 quarters in China. Today, equities rose for the fifth time in six sessions as solar and technology companies extended a rally on government measures to support the industries.

Orders to remove copper from warehouses monitored by the London Metal Exchange increased 0.9 percent to 336,475 metric tons, ending a 12-session slide, the longest decline in 13 months.

Copper for delivery in three months gained 1.2 percent to $6,998 a ton ($3.17 a pound) on the LME. Aluminum, tin, lead and nickel rose, while zinc fell.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

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

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