Copper Set for First Weekly Gain in Four on Growth Optimism

Copper is poised for the first weekly gain in four after exports by China, the top user of the industrial metal, grew by more than expected, adding to signs of the global economic recovery. Zinc and lead also rose.

The metal for delivery in three months climbed as much as 0.2 percent to $7,783 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $7,775 at 3:49 p.m. in Seoul. The price is up 0.9 percent this week.

China’s exports rose 21.8 percent last month from a year earlier, beating the 8.1 percent-gain median in a Bloomberg News survey. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi yesterday said data suggest the economy will stabilize this year and U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped.

“We remain bullish on copper,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Seoul-based Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. “Prices are bottoming out and will be able to rebound.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said yesterday it is bullish on copper as home building in China and the U.S. will drive demand. The Asian nation’s construction sector accounts for 20 percent of global demand, according to the bank.

Copper analysts are the most bullish in five weeks because of mounting optimism the global economy is strengthening, a Bloomberg survey shows. Thirteen analysts expect prices to rise next week. Four forecast declines and three were neutral.

China’s copper imports tumbled to the lowest level in 20 months as a week-long holiday slowed customs procedures. Inbound shipments of refined metal, alloy and products were 298,102 tons last month, the General Administration of Customs said today. That compares with 351,000 tons in January and 484,569 tons a year ago, show data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures for June delivery rose 0.4 percent to close at 56,740 yuan ($9,122) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Futures for delivery in May traded little changed at $3.5245 a pound on the Comex in New York.

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