Copper swung between gains and losses as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke allayed concern that stimulus in the U.S. will end soon while more signs emerged that demand may slow in China.
The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $6,883 a metric ton at 3:50 p.m. in Tokyo after trading between a 0.4 percent gain and 0.4 percent loss. Futures for delivery in September on the Comex were little changed at $3.1275 a pound.
Bernanke said in prepared testimony to the House Financial Services Committee yesterday that the Fed’s asset purchases “are by no means on a preset course” and could even be expanded should economic conditions warrant. The International Monetary Fund said that risks are increasing that China’s economic growth this year will trail the lender’s forecast.
“Bernanke’s comments were supportive for copper, while there’s concern over China’s economic growth,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. Investors will watch U.S. jobless claims report today for direction, he said.
First-time claims for jobless benefits probably decreased by 15,000 to 345,000 in the week ended July 13, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg before the Labor Department data today.
China’s June new home prices rose in all but one city, led by the biggest metropolitan centers and underscoring Premier Li Keqiang’s struggle to rein in speculative investment even as the economy cools. Prices climbed in 69 of the 70 cities the government tracked last month from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today, matching the data in May.
Copper futures for delivery in November on the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined 0.4 percent to close at 49,690 yuan ($8,093) a ton.
On the LME, aluminum, nickel, lead and tin also fell, while zinc climbed.