Copper Advances to Six-Week High on Outlook for Global Stimulus

Copper futures rose to the highest in almost six weeks on speculation that central banks will maintain policies aimed at boosting economic growth.

The ruling coalition of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose strategy includes monetary stimulus, solidified control of parliament in elections, sending Japanese equities higher. Global finance chiefs in the Group of 20 nations sought to buttress the global economic recovery with pledges to avoid roiling markets as China moved to scrap a lending rule that constrained its banks.

“Easing should be continuing in Japan, and the G-20 comments suggest that they believe central banks should err toward being accommodative,” David Meger, the director of metal trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The focus in the markets is on monetary policy, and all of this is helping metals.”

Copper futures for September delivery advanced 1.4 percent to settle at $3.185 a pound at 1:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $3.215, the highest for a most-active contract since June 18.

Sales of previously owned houses unexpectedly dropped in June, a private report showed today. The report may underpin copper prices by easing concern that the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back monthly bond purchases, Meger said.

On July 19, the central bank in China, the world’s top copper consumer, ended a floor on borrowing costs as part of an effort to liberalize the financial system.

“Prices could lift further today after the PBOC announced measures to liberalize interest rates,” Mark Pervan, an analyst at ANZ in Melbourne, said in a report.

Hedge funds cut wagers on falling copper prices by 40 percent to 15,673 Comex futures and options contracts as of July 16, the third straight drop, government data showed on July 19.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.6 percent to $7,029 a metric ton ($3.19 a pound). Nickel fell, while aluminum, tin, zinc and lead climbed.

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