Copper Set for Best Quarter in More Than Year on China Optimism

Copper rose for a fourth day, heading for the best quarter since March 2012, on speculation Chinese demand will increase after holidays as stockpiles fall.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange advanced as much as 0.4 percent to $7,330 a metric ton, the highest intra-day level since Sept. 20, and was at $7,315.75 by 5:00 p.m. in Tokyo. The price has risen 8.4 percent this quarter, the first gain in a year.

Copper stockpiles tracked by the LME decreased for a third week to 541,125 tons, down 19 percent current quarter, according to the bourse data as of Sept. 27. Inventories fell for a second week to 150,994 tons, Shanghai Futures Exchange data showed last week. Markets in China, the biggest user of the metal, will be closed Oct. 1-7.

“The market was underpinned by speculation that China’s demand will pick up after the holidays and as stockpiles declined,” said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul.

Copper also rose as some investors closed their bets on falling prices before the Chinese holidays, he said. The metal earlier lost as much as 0.6 percent on concern the U.S. government is headed for a partial shutdown. A Chinese manufacturing gauge for September unexpectedly missed a preliminary estimate. An official factory index is due tomorrow.

Futures for delivery in December were little changed at $3.332 a pound on the Comex in New York. Metal for delivery in December on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.9 percent to close at 52,800 yuan ($8,627) a ton.

On the LME, aluminum, nickel and zinc also advanced, while lead and tin were little changed.