Copper Climbs as U.S. Home Sales Add to Signs of Rising Demand

Copper futures rose in New York for the first time in four sessions as sales of new U.S. homes rebounded last month, adding to signs of increasing demand for the metal used in pipes and wiring.

Sales increased 7.9 percent to a 421,000 annualized pace, topping analyst estimates, government figures showed today. Global demand for refined copper exceeded production in June by 132,000 metric tons, amid signs that use in China climbed to the highest since December 2011, the International Copper Study Group said yesterday in a report. The Asian country is the world’s top metals consumer, followed by the U.S.

“We’re seeing copper getting a bit of a bounce off of the new-home sales numbers,” Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People have been worried whether housing sales would go down with rising interest rates, and any sign that demand is holding up is a positive for copper.”

Copper futures for delivery in December rose 0.5 percent to settle at $3.272 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal slipped 2.7 percent in the previous three sessions. Prices have climbed 7 percent since June, on track for the first quarterly gain in a year.

House prices in 20 U.S. cities gained the most in more than seven years in the 12 months through July, a private report showed yesterday. Construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal, according to the Copper Development Association.

Supplies will exceed demand this year by about 150,000 tons, with the surplus widening to 620,000 tons in 2014, Societe Generale SA said this month.

“When you look at the micro fundamentals for copper, there is more to worry about,” Gayle Berry, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London, said by telephone today. “You are looking at a market moving into surplus toward the end of the year.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added 0.7 percent to $7,197.50 a ton ($3.26 a pound).

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

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