Copper futures rose for the first time this week after a report showed signs of an improving housing market in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.
Home prices in May in the Asian nation dropped in fewer cities for the third straight month, indicating buyers are responding to lower interest rates and the relaxation of curbs on purchases. About half of China’s demand for copper, used in pipes and wiring, is linked to real estate, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
“Today’s data is an improvement, and the market is hoping to see more evidence that the Chinese market is turning,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.
On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $2.6115 a pound at 1:31 p.m. The price declined 2.8 percent in the previous three sessions.
The metal has dropped 7.6 percent this year amid economic concerns in China and Europe.
Chinese data “showed some signs of life,” Naeem Aslam, the chief market analyst at Avatrade Ltd. in Dublin, said in an e-mail. “This has spurred the demand equation for the industrial metals.”
The dollar fell to a four-week low against a basket of 10 currencies, boosting the appeal of raw materials as alternative investments.
Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.2 percent to $5,755 a metric ton ($2.61 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange. Lead and tin gained, while nickel, zinc and aluminum declined.