Copper Gains to Highest in Three Weeks on China Demand Optimism

Copper climbed to the highest level in three weeks on speculation that demand may improve in China, the biggest user.

Copper for delivery in three months gained as much as 1.4 percent to $7,374 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest level since April 15, and was at $7,290 at 12:51 p.m. in Shanghai. The metal recorded the biggest daily advance in 18 months on May 3. The LME reopened after a holiday yesterday.

Copper stockpiles tallied by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell for a fifth week to 213,782 tons last week, the lowest since February. LME inventories recorded the first weekly drop in three months. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said yesterday that further interest-rate cuts are possible after reducing them to a record low last week.

“Copper may have seen the low for the first half in April, as we learned that demand is improving,” Zhang Tianfeng, an analyst at Dongxing Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “It may be poised to test $7,500 as the retreat in April should have factored in all the negative news from China.”

China’s customs department will release April trade data tomorrow and the statistics bureau will announce consumer and producer price growth on May 9.

Copper for delivery in July on the Comex was little changed at $3.3065 per pound, while the September contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was little changed at 52,890 yuan ($8,590) a ton.

On the LME, aluminum and zinc were little changed, while nickel, lead and tin declined.

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