Industrial Metals Gain as China Manufacturing Shows Recovery

Copper advanced for a second day after a survey from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed China’s manufacturing expanding at faster pace this month. Aluminum, zinc and lead also advanced.

Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 1.7 percent to $7,750 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $7,666 by 4:30 p.m. in Tokyo. The May contract on the Comex in New York climbed 0.6 percent to $3.467 per pound.

The preliminary reading of a Purchasing Managers’ Index was 51.7 in March, according to a statement from HSBC and Markit Economics. That compares with the 50.4 final reading for February and the 50.8 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 analysts. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. China is the biggest consumer of industrial metals.

“China’s manufacturing index was stronger than we had expected,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. “The index has calmed down concern over Europe’s debt crisis.”

Copper rose 1.2 percent yesterday in London after touching $7,486.25 on March 19, the lowest level since Aug. 21, as investors speculated that the European Central Bank will continue to support Cyprus, helping to allay concern that the region’s debt turmoil will erode economic growth.

Imports of refined copper by China declined in February to the lowest level in 19 months, while exports rose for a sixth month. Inbound shipments were 214,949 tons last month, the lowest since July, data from the General Administration of Customs showed today. This compared with 243,174 tons in January and 375,831 tons a year ago.

China’s exports expanded to 38,569 tons, the highest since June, from 26,213 tons in January, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Copper for July delivery on the Shanghai exchange rose 0.8 percent to close at 55,780 yuan ($8,978) a ton.

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