Copper Climbs on China Trade Data as Aluminum Gains

Copper in London gained after data showed China’s imports and exports in December exceeded estimates, indicating demand by the largest user may recover as growth accelerates. Aluminum climbed for a fourth day.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 0.4 percent to $8,113.50 a metric ton, before trading at $8,105.50 by 2:20 p.m. in Shanghai. Aluminum added as much as 0.9 percent to $2,093.75 a ton.

China’s imports gained 6 percent in December as exports jumped 14.1 percent, both exceeding November’s gains and economists’ forecasts, data from the customs administration showed today. The country’s aggregate financing totaled 1.63 trillion yuan ($262 billion), exceeding the median 1.2 trillion yuan estimate of economists, data from the central bank showed.

“The data are pretty good, showing the economy is in an upward trajectory, and that is certainly good news for metals consumption,” said Wang Jun, an analyst at Beijing Cifco Futures Co. “We expect the copper price to have a pretty good performance in the first quarter.”

Imports of unwrought copper and products by China fell to 341,211 tons last month from 365,331 tons in November as arbitrage trade by buying the metal in London and selling in Shanghai remained unprofitable.

Futures for March delivery on the Comex in New York gained 0.5 percent to $3.689 per pound. Futures for delivery in April rose 0.3 percent 58,480 yuan ($9,396) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

On the LME, tin declined from the highest level in almost 11 months, while zinc, lead and nickel advanced.

— With assistance by Helen Sun

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