Copper Advances on Signs of Improving Demand in U.S. and China

Copper futures rose in New York for the third time in four sessions as gains in U.S. consumer confidence and Chinese industrial profits added to signs of improving demand in the world’s two biggest users of the metal.

The Conference Board’s index of sentiment advanced to 81.5 in August from a revised 81 in July that was stronger than initially estimated, as Americans grew more optimistic about the prospects for the economy, the New York-based private research group reported today. Profit growth for industrial companies quickened to 12 percent in July from 6.3 percent in June, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said.

“The U.S. economy is chugging along, and that’s been enough to support copper prices,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “If we keep seeing these sorts of growth numbers out of China, copper will continue to run higher.”

Copper futures for delivery in December increased 0.3 percent to settle at $3.3355 a pound at 1:11 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has gained 7 percent since July 31, on pace for the best month since September.

Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG raised forecasts for China’s economic growth in the past week as data from manufacturing to exports indicated the economy is strengthening.

Signs of economic improvement in Europe also underpinned prices. Germany’s Ifo business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to the highest since April 2012. Germany is the biggest copper buyer after China and the U.S.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.6 percent to $7,315 a metric ton ($3.32 a pound).

Aluminum, nickel and zinc also declined in London. Lead and tin rose.

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