Copper Extends Rally as China Export Growth Signals Demand Gains

Copper rose for a third session, the longest rally in a month, as a bigger-than-projected increase in August exports added to evidence of resurgent growth in China, the world’s largest user of the metal.

Shipments from China gained 7.2 percent from August 2012, customs figures showed yesterday, compared with the 5.5 percent median estimate from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. An official Chinese manufacturing gauge published Sept. 1 reached a 16-month high. Copper prices are down 10 percent this year, partly on concern global demand would slow.

“We’re seeing some decent reports coming out of China, and that’s been enough to lift copper,” Jeffrey Friedman, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People are saying that at least for now, China seems to be improving after some signs of slowing a few months ago.”

Copper futures for delivery in December added 0.5 percent to settle at $3.278 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The three-session rally was the longest for the contract since Aug. 2. Prices climbed 0.9 percent last week, and are up 7.2 percent this quarter.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.5 percent to $7,196 a metric tons ($3.26 a pound).

Stockpiles monitored by the LME declined 0.9 percent to 594,625 tons, daily exchange data showed. Orders to remove the metal from the warehouses fell 0.1 percent to 285,350 tons.

Money managers reduced their net-long position, or bets on higher Comex copper prices, by 37 percent to 8,211 contracts in the week ended Sept. 3, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc slid in London.

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