Copper futures rebounded from the lowest in almost three weeks as declining stockpiles signaled tightening supplies just as demand is anticipated to climb in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest metal consumer.
Inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange are heading for the biggest weekly decline since November. The index of U.S. leading economic indicators in April rose the most in nine months, a private report showed Thursday. Copper has rallied 18 percent from this year’s low in January, partly on expectations that economic gains will help buoy consumption.
“The supply conditions look a little tight at the moment,” Jeffrey Friedman, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The leading economic indicators point to an improvement in demand. People are cautiously optimistic, because we have seen a lot of mixed data.”
On the Comex, copper futures for July delivery rose 0.7 percent to close at $2.8485 a pound at 1:19 p.m. in New York. On Wednesday, the price touched $2.8205, the lowest since April 30.
Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.5 percent to $6,252 a metric ton ($2.84 a pound) on the LME.
Prices also gained on speculation that slowing Chinese manufacturing will prompt the government to expand economic stimulus.
Lead gained, while aluminum, zinc, tin and nickel fell in London.