Copper Futures Rise on China’s Loan Data, Dollar’s Drop

Copper rose for the third time in four days on speculation that demand will climb in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.

New local-currency lending in March was 1.06 trillion yuan ($171 billion), the People’s Bank of China said today. That topped 900 billion forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey and 620 billion in February. The dollar fell as much as 0.6 percent against a basket of major currencies, boosting demand for some metals as alternative investments.

“The weakness in the dollar got things off to a better start,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We’re seeing a little bit better numbers out of China, and that’s giving some support to copper.”

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for May delivery gained 0.5 percent to settle at $3.4335 a pound at 1:15 p.m. The metal has advanced 3.9 percent from an eight-month low on April 4.

Copper also rallied as jobless claims fell by 42,000 to 346,000 last week, government figures showed. The forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a drop to 360,000.

Earlier, the metal fell as much as 0.9 percent on concern that the Federal Reserve will curb monetary stimulus aimed at bolstering the economy in the U.S., the second-biggest user.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.5 percent to $7,610 a metric ton ($3.45 a pound). Nickel and zinc rose, while aluminum, tin and lead dropped.

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