Copper Extends Rally a Third Day on China Demand Bets

Copper futures rose to the highest in more than 11 weeks on speculation that the government will move to stoke the economy in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.

The state will adjust policy to help the economy, Premier Li Keqiang said, according to a statement on the government website dated May 23. China’s mini-stimulus will continue, UBS AG said in a report. Orders for durable goods in April unexpectedly climbed for a third straight month in the U.S., the second-largest copper user, government data showed today.

“Things are beginning to look up in China, and people expect the stimulus measures will boost demand for copper and other industrial metals,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Today’s data out of the U.S. is encouraging.”

Copper futures for delivery in July rose 0.3 percent to settle at $3.1775 a pound at 1:23 p.m. on the Comex in New York after touching $3.192, the highest for a most-active contract since March 7. Prices are up 5 percent in May, heading for a second straight monthly gain.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.1 percent to $6,934 a metric ton ($3.15 a pound).

Inventories tracked by the LME fell 52 percent this year and last week reached the lowest since September 2008.

Nickel for delivery in three months fell 0.3 percent to $19,550 a ton on the LME. Prices have gained 6.7 percent in May, poised for a sixth monthly gain and the longest rally since 2003, amid supply concerns. Russia canceled export duties on nickel and copper, Vedomosti reported today, citing unidentified government officials.

Aluminum, zinc and tin advanced in London. Lead declined.

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