Industrial Metals Climb on U.S. Housing Data, Bernanke Comments

Industrial metals advanced after new-home sales surged by the most in two decades in the U.S., and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended stimulus measures, raising demand prospects from the second-largest user.

Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.8 percent to $7,919 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $7,882.75 by 4:11 p.m. Shanghai time. Lead climbed as much as 1.4 percent to $2,329 a ton.

New home purchases in the U.S. jumped in January to the highest level since July 2008, as confidence among U.S. consumers gained more than forecast in February. Bernanke said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee that “we do not see the potential costs of the increased risk-taking in some financial markets as outweighing the benefits of promoting a stronger economic recovery.”

“Bernanke’s comments helped to alleviate the concerns over the exit of the huge stimulus program, at least for now,” Lian Zheng, an analyst at Xinhu Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “The strong housing data also supported a rebound.”

Copper for delivery in June on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 0.6 percent higher at 57,490 yuan ($9,232) a ton, and the May contract on the Comex in New York was little changed at $3.5825 per pound.

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