Copper prices in London rose to the highest in almost four weeks on signs of increasing demand in China, the world’s largest consumer. Aluminum, nickel, zinc, tin and lead gained.
China’s copper imports rose 19 percent in November from a year earlier, while purchases of unwrought aluminum and related products climbed 21 percent. The nation’s total trade surplus expanded to the biggest in more than four years, signaling a sustained economic recovery. A gauge of the six industrial metals advanced to a four-week high.
“You’ve got favorable Chinese economic data released overnight,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “That’s going to give positive action to some of those base metals.”
Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.2 percent to settle at $7,135 a metric ton ($3.24 a pound) at 5:51 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $7,149, the highest since Nov. 12.
Premiums for imported copper in China remained close to a record high on demand for import financing.
Aluminum gained 0.8 percent to $1,793 a ton in London after reaching $1,801, the highest since Nov. 20.
The LME index of six metals climbed 0.5 percent to 3,083.4, the highest since Nov. 11.
On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery gained 0.3 percent to $3.258 a pound.