Copper Futures Rise on Bets Fed May Be Slow to Reduce Stimulus

Copper rose in New York on speculation that the Federal Reserve will signal that it’s unlikely to reduce stimulus measures soon.

The Federal Open Market Committee starts a two-day policy meeting tomorrow. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said this month that it’s too early to decide whether to begin scaling back debt purchases in September, after saying on June 19 that bond buying could slow if the economy improves. The metal more than tripled from the end of 2008 to a record $4.6575 a pound in February 2011 as the Fed cut interest rates to a record low and bought debt.

“Over the short term and going into this week, we think markets should end up on a firmer note on the back of the Fed’s policy message,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, said in a report. The Fed’s statement may be “one that should not mention a September start date on tapering and will likely boost commodities via a weaker dollar.”

Copper futures for delivery in September climbed 0.1 percent to settle at $3.1075 at 1:18 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The advance pared the metal’s loss during the past year, with prices down 9.3 percent on concern that output would exceed demand as economic growth slows in China.

Inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange shrank for a ninth session, the longest streak since September. Stockpiles fell 0.4 percent to 618,775 metric tons.

Money managers cut their net-short position, or wagers on lower copper prices, to 12,974 Comex futures and options as of July 23, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months added 0.2 percent to $6,878 a ton ($3.12 a pound).

Aluminum was little changed in London. Lead and tin rose, while nickel and zinc were lower.

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