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Copper Rises on Speculation Increasing Auto Sales Boost Demand

Copper climbed for the first time in three days on speculation that an increase in auto sales globally will boost demand.

The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 0.5 percent to $7,152.25 a metric ton and traded at $7,135 at 3:22 p.m. in Hong Kong. The metal is up 1.7 percent in July, set for a third monthly gain.

Nissan Motor Co. benefited from higher earnings in China, the world’s largest auto market, and boosted deliveries to the country by 21 percent in the April-to-June quarter, the company said yesterday. Ford Motor Co. said last week it will ramp up spending to introduce 23 new models worldwide this year. The carmaker’s first-half sales in China jumped 35 percent.

“The sentiment was boosted by better-than-expected earnings reports from major automakers, signaling demand for copper will remain strong,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul.

Copper stockpiles tracked by the LME have plunged 59 percent this year to 150,900 tons, the lowest in almost six years.

In New York, futures for September gained 0.1 percent to $3.248 a pound, while copper for the same month added 0.3 percent to close at 50,790 yuan ($8,216) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

Lead in London fell 0.2 percent to $2,296 a ton after touching $2,307 earlier, the highest since Feb. 28, 2013. In Shanghai, futures for delivery in October touched to 15,510 yuan a ton, the highest since October 2012 as daily aggregate volume reached 121,916 contracts, a record since trading began March 2011. Aggregate volumes grew more than fivefold to 119,466 lots yesterday.

On the LME, tin climbed while zinc, nickel and aluminum were little changed.

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