Copper Rises Most in 3 Months, Miners Gain on China Stockpiles

  • Freeport-McMoRan, Teck among leaders on Americas mining index
  • China said to plan trial program for building metal reserves

Copper rose the most in three months amid a broader rally in base metals and mining stocks on signs that China is planning to increase stockpiles.

The country plans to boost stockpiles of base metals, via both state and commercial reserves, as it seeks to balance supply and demand amid a commodities glut, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. China already holds stockpiles of metals through the State Reserve Bureau. The people didn’t give a time line on when any new initiatives might be implemented or how they would be financed.

Commodity prices have declined since 2011 as mounting supply met lackluster demand in China, the world’s top consumer, which is facing its slowest growth in decades. Domestic smelters late last year pledged to cut output after metal prices fell to the lowest in six years.

“The whole market’s concern was supplies,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The stockpiling news helps change that dynamic. The market doesn’t have to be wondering where that demand will be coming from now that we’re getting a significant amount of demand from the Chinese government.”

Copper for delivery in three months rose 2.9 percent to settle at $4,639.50 a metric ton ($2.10 a pound) at 5:51 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest gain since March 4.

The Bloomberg Americas Mining Index gained 2.4 percent, with Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Teck Resources Ltd. and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. among the top gainers in the index.

In other metals:

  • Copper futures for July delivery added 2.5 percent to $2.091 a pound on the Comex in New York
  • Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead gained on the LME, while tin was unchanged.
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