Copper Futures Posts Biggest Weekly Gain in Six Months

Copper futures rose, capping the biggest weekly advance in six months, on speculation that demand will rise as the government takes steps to bolster economic growth in China, the world’s biggest metal user.

China has policies in reserve to deal with any economic volatility this year and can’t ignore “difficulties and risks” from a slowdown in the economy, Premier Li Keqiang said. The country will speed up spending on railways and roads and take measures to support business development, he said.

“There’s a lot of speculation that China may inject liquidity into the system because they’ve run into some economic troubles recently,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “They’ll also increase spending in new projects, and you’re going to see copper demand start to rise.”

Copper futures for May delivery rose 1.6 percent to settle at $3.0415 a pound at 1:29 p.m. on the Comex in New York. This week, the price gained 3.1 percent, the most since Sept. 20.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months gained 1.7 percent to $6,670 a metric ton ($3.03 a pound).

This week, stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 7.7 percent to 193,725 tons, the biggest decline since mid-December.

“This Shanghai drop in stocks may be one of the reasons why copper went up,” Herwig Schmidt, the head of sales at Triland Metals Ltd. in London, said in a telephone interview.

Aluminum, zinc and tin advanced on the LME, while nickel and lead were unchanged.

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