Industrial Metals Climb on Better-Than-Expected U.S. Data

Base metals climbed after better-than-forecast U.S. durable goods orders and home-price data fueled optimism about demand from the second-largest user.

Copper for delivery in three months gained 0.4 percent to $7,654 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $7,630 by 12:56 p.m. Shanghai time. Zinc rose as much as 0.8 percent to $1,919.75 a ton, while lead increased 0.5 percent to $2,142 a ton.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years climbed by the most since September in February, as sales of new homes capped the best two months since 2008 and residential real-estate prices rose in January by the most since June 2006. Construction generates 40 percent of demand for the metal, according to the Copper Development Association.

“There’s not too much negative news that can weigh down copper further at the moment,” said Lu Minsu, an analyst at New Century Futures Co.

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has rescheduled shipments amid a strike at the Angamos port, the company said yesterday. The stoppage began on March 16.

Copper for delivery in July traded little changed at 55,680 yuan ($8,963) a ton. The contract for May delivery gained 0.2 percent to $3.45 a pound on the Comex in New York.

“The recent pull-back in copper prices and record high speculative short positions presents a good buying opportunity,” Natalie Rampono, a commodity strategist with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a report.

Speculators raised net-short positions in U.S. copper futures and options by 53 percent to a record 25,719 contracts in the week ended March 19, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data that begins in 2006.

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