Copper Heads for First Quarterly Gain in a Year on China Outlook

Copper rose, heading for the first quarterly gain in a year, as higher earnings at Chinese industrial companies signaled expanding demand from the world’s largest metal-consuming country.

Profits at the companies increased 24 percent in August, China’s statistics bureau said today. Copper inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange dropped for a 17th straight session, heading for the biggest monthly decline since March 2012.

“These numbers are very good, and the China demand story is slowly making its way back,” Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Copper futures for December delivery added 0.7 percent to settle at $3.3295 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices have advanced 3 percent this month and 8.9 percent for the quarter.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.7 percent to $7,300 a metric ton ($3.31 a pound).

Stockpiles of the metal declined for a third week to 541,125 tons. They’re down 8 percent this month and 19 percent in the third quarter. Orders to remove copper from warehouses rose 2 percent to 274,850 tons.

Aluminum, nickel, tin, zinc and lead gained in London. Markets in China will be shut from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 for National Day holidays.

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