Copper Advances as Industrial Metals Rally on Indonesia Ore Ban

Copper posted the biggest weekly gain in more than two months as industrial metals rallied on Indonesia’s plan to ban on all exports of raw material from mines. Tin reached a five-week high.

Production at PT Freeport Indonesia’s Grasberg copper mine, the world’s second-largest, may fall to 30 percent to 40 percent of maximum output, Rozik B. Soetjipto, the company’s president director, said today. A plan by Indonesia, the biggest producer of mined nickel and the leading exporter of tin, to ban all mineral-ore exports next year received backing from parliament, the government said yesterday.

“The strength of the comments from the Indonesian government regarding the imposition of the ore-export ban look to have taken some participants by surprise,” Standard Bank analysts including Leon Westgate said in a report today. “The concern has been exacerbated by comments from PT Freeport’s Grasberg mine that it may have to curt production.”

Copper futures for delivery in March rose 0.6 percent to settle at $3.2485 a pound at 1:14 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices increased 1.4 percent this week, the biggest advance for a most-active contract since Sept. 20.

Prices also climbed after reports showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a five year-low of 7 percent in November. The U.S. is the biggest copper consumer after China.

Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell to the lowest since Feb. 18. Bookings to withdraw the metal from LME warehouses climbed 3.2 percent to 270,400 metric tons as New Orleans orders climbed to a record.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months added 0.7 percent to $7,122 a ton ($3.23 a pound). Tin climbed as much as 1.2 percent to $23,250 a ton, the highest since Oct. 30.

Aluminum for delivery in three months gained as much as 1.2 percent on the LME after orders to withdraw stockpiles from exchange-monitored warehouses surged to a record 2.33 million tons. Indonesia’s ban includes exports of bauxite, a raw material used in production of the metal.

Nickel, zinc and lead also rose in London.

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