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July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum rose to a 16-month high as a gauge of global inventories dwindled amid signs of higher demand for the metal used in construction, autos and cans.

Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange extended a slump to the lowest in 22 months. South Korea is seeking to buy high-grade primary metal in bidding on July 29. The price has climbed 10 percent this year.

“Demand remains solid, and available supplies are less than the market envisaged,” Michael Turek, a senior director at Newedge USA LLC in New York, said in a note. “Dips are met with both industrial and investor demand.”

Aluminum for delivery in three months gained 1 percent to settle at $1,989 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the LME. Earlier, the price reached $1,994, the highest since March 13, 2013.

Inventories fell for the 12th straight session to 4.97 million tons, the lowest since Sept. 12, 2012.

Copper dropped 0.1 percent to $7,067.50 a ton ($3.21 a pound). Nickel, lead and zinc declined, while tin rose.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery gained 0.2 percent to $3.2205 a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Millie Munshi at Joe Richter, Patrick McKiernan

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