Copper Rallies as U.S. Factory Output Data Buoys Demand Outlook

Copper futures rallied in New York as factory production in the U.S. rose more than forecast in October, bolstering demand prospects as global stockpiles of the metal slide to a nine-month low.

The 0.3 percent advance at factories followed a 0.1 percent gain the prior month and exceeded the 0.2 percent median projection in a Bloomberg survey, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today. Copper inventories monitored by exchanges in the U.S., London and Shanghai have dropped by almost a third since June 24, and are at the lowest since early February.

“Things are looking a bit better in the macro picture, and I think we could see copper move higher in the next several months,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Manufacturers’ inventories in China have been in decline for a while, and as industrial demand picks up, we’ll see restocking.”

Copper futures for delivery in March climbed 0.3 percent to settle at $3.182 a pound at 1:18 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after falling as much as 0.5 percent. For the week, prices fell 2.2 percent after output of the metal jumped in China and concerns mounted that Europe’s recovery may falter.

The Fed report today also showed total U.S. industrial production decreased 0.1 percent last month as output at mines and utilities declined.

Stockpiles of copper monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell 0.9 percent to 451,650 metric tons, while orders to remove the metal from warehouses slid 1.2 percent to 279,450 tons, daily exchange figures showed.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months advanced 0.3 percent to $7,010 a ton ($3.18 a pound).

Nickel, tin and zinc were also higher in London. Aluminum was unchanged, while lead gained less than 0.1 percent.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.