Copper Rallies Most in Two Weeks as Strike Curbs Chile Shipments

Copper rallied the most in almost two weeks in New York after a Chilean government official said a strike at a port is curtailing shipments from the country, the world’s biggest producer of the metal.

The strike is restricting exports by 60 percent after Angamos port workers in Chile’s north started protests March 16, Chile Mining Minister Hernan de Solminihac told reporters today in Santiago. Copper also rose as the dollar erased earlier gains, boosting the appeal of commodities as an alternative investment.

“The news out of Chile alleviates some of the concerns for now about over-supply in copper,” David Meger, the director of metal trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The dollar has fallen significantly off its earlier highs, and copper is seeing a bounce with the currency moves.”

Copper futures for delivery in May added 0.6 percent to settle at $3.3515 a pound at 1:10 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since March 22. Prices earlier touched $3.306, the lowest since Aug. 3, as a contraction of European service industries and slumping car sales fueled concern that demand will decline.

Inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange climbed for a 34th session, to 579,175 metric tons, daily exchange figures showed, the most since October 2003.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months advanced 0.7 percent to $7,441 a ton ($3.38 a pound).

Tin, zinc, aluminum and lead also rose in London. Nickel fell.

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