Copper Gains as U.S. Manufacturing, Housing Recovers

Copper rose in London on signs that manufacturing and housing are gaining in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest buyer of the metal used in wires and pipes.

Orders for U.S. durable goods climbed more than forecast in February on demand for automobiles and commercial aircraft, a Commerce Department report showed today. In January, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities climbed 8.1 percent, the most since June 2006. The increase exceeded the 7.9 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

“The reports give confirmation to the idea that the U.S. economy is relatively stable,” John Petrie, a senior market strategist at Zaner Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The housing market has made strides in clearing inventory, and the better U.S. numbers in general are important in helping the psychology of the market.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.1 percent to settle at $7,625 a metric ton ($3.46 a pound) at 5:50 p.m. local time.

The price pared gains of as much as 0.8 percent on concern that global production will top demand, while inventory monitored by the LME advanced to the highest since October 2003. China is the top consumer of the metal.

The worldwide surplus will expand to 640,000 tons next year and 870,000 tons in 2015 from 230,000 tons this year, Daniel Brebner, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in London, said today in a report.

“There is a strong argument to be made that the longer-dated tenors in the copper market are overvalued,” he said.

Supplies in warehouses tracked by the LME posted the 29th straight advance, the longest run since January 2010.

Copper futures for May delivery fell 0.1 percent to close at $3.4425 a pound on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price gained as much as 0.9 percent. This year, the metal has dropped 5.7 percent.

In London, nickel, aluminum, lead, zinc and tin declined.

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