Copper Rises on China Car Sales, U.S. Debt Negotiations

Copper futures rose for the second straight day as a jump in Chinese car sales and signs that U.S. lawmakers are moving toward a debt-ceiling agreement boosted demand prospects for the metal.

Wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport-utility vehicles climbed 21 percent to 1.59 million units last month, the most since January, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said today. U.S. Senator Bob Corker said that Congress will open the partially shut government and increase its borrowing limit on at least a short-term basis next week before the debt ceiling is reached Oct. 17.

“Any good news out of China going to help copper,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a new optimism in the market because the government budget negotiations seem to be doing a bit better.”

Copper futures for December delivery advanced 0.6 percent to settle at $3.269 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price rose 0.5 percent yesterday.

This week, the metal fell 1 percent, the second straight drop, amid concern that the congressional impasse over the budget and the $16.7 trillion debt limit will hinder the U.S. recovery.

The International Copper Study Group says an average midsize car contains about 50 pounds of the metal. China is the world’s biggest consumer of the commodity, followed by the U.S.

Copper stockpiles tracked by the London Metal Exchange dropped for the 27th straight session to 509,325 metric tons, the lowest since March.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.8 percent to $7,200 a ton ($3.27 a pound). Lead, nickel, tin, zinc and aluminum gained.

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