Copper capped the biggest gain in almost two weeks as an increase in industrial production last month eased concern that demand will slide in China, the world’s largest user of the metal.
Factory production climbed 8.8 percent in May from a year earlier, up from 8.7 percent in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing today. Copper stockpiles tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 5.3 percent this week to 81,929 metric tons, the lowest since December 2011.
“Much of the support in the copper market came from the Chinese industrial numbers,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The Chinese numbers came in line with expectations, and it alleviated some of the concern in the market. It’s a leading indicator for demand for copper.”
Copper futures for July delivery increased 0.5 percent to $3.0295 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since June 2. Prices fell 0.7 percent this week.
The metal touched the lowest since May 1 yesterday as China officials investigate whether stockpiled metal at the port of Qingdao was used more than once to secure loans. Traders surveyed by Bloomberg were split on the outlook for price gains next week, amid concern that more supplies may be available as finance deals using copper as collateral are unwound.
The combined stockpiles monitored by the main exchanges in New York, London and Shanghai fell 0.8 percent to 261,321 tons, the lowest since October 2008.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.5 percent to $6,655 a ton ($3.02 a pound).
Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc advanced in London.