Copper Advances as Manufacturing Unexpectedly Expands in China

Copper futures in New York rose for the second time in three days after manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in China, the world’s largest consumer of the metal.

A factory index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed a preliminary reading of 50.1 for August, compared with a median estimate of 48.2 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Levels above 50 signal growth. Exports from China rebounded in July, and service industries and factory output expanded at a faster rate, reports showed this month.

“Support for copper is coming from the Chinese manufacturing report,” Grant Barratt, a trader at Jefferies Bache LLC in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The market can’t ignore the data from China that we’ve seen lately, and prices are picking up on the back of that.”

Copper futures for delivery in December added 0.7 percent to settle at $3.3345 a pound at 1:11 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Copper has climbed 9.1 percent since the end of June, on pace for the biggest quarterly gain since the three months ended March 31, 2012.

Inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange slid for a 27th session to 565,500 metric tons. The stretch is the longest since February 2012. Orders to withdraw the metal from warehouses fell for a 12th time in 13 sessions, to 294,450 tons.

“The Chinese economy would appear to be back on the road to recovery, which should be reflected in robust demand for metals and lend support to prices,” Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said by e-mail today.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months increased 1.1 percent to $7,320 a ton ($3.32 a pound).

Nickel, tin and zinc also advanced in London. Aluminum and lead fell.

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