Copper Futures Seen Rising on China Stimulus Speculation

Copper rose for the third time in four sessions in New York on speculation that China will stoke its economy after a gauge of manufacturing touched an eight-month low.

The measure fell to 48 in March, the lowest since July, HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics said today. A separate official gauge rose to 50.3 from 50.2. Readings above 50 signal growth. The China Securities Journal said in a commentary that the nation, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals, may expand fiscal spending to spur demand. In the first quarter, copper prices slumped 11 percent, the most since 2011.

“The stimulus story is perking up copper,” Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Archer Financial Services in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Also, some buyers are returning after the sharp drop in prices.”

Copper futures for May delivery rose 0.3 percent to settle at $3.0345 a pound at 1:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, the price reached $3.05, the highest for a most-active contract since March 11.

“The move higher we have seen so far has not been that convincing, and it may only express some bottom-fishing,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in an e-mail.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months advanced 0.2 percent to $6,660 a metric ton ($3.02 a pound).

Stockpiles at warehouses tracked by the LME, down for the fourth straight session, have slumped 28 percent this year.

Aluminum rose 0.6 percent to $1,795.50 a ton in London. The price climbed for the fourth straight session, the longest rally since Feb. 14. Bookings to remove the metal from warehouses climbed to a record.

Nickel and tin gained, while lead and zinc fell.

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