Copper Extends Longest Rally in 2014 on China Outlook

Copper gained for a seventh session in New York, extending the longest rally in six months, as manufacturing growth in China bolstered demand prospects amid signs of tight supply.

A preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics rose to 50.8 in June, topping the 49.7 median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That was the first time this year the reading was above 50, signaling expansion. Inventories tracked by the main exchanges in London, Shanghai and New York fell for an eighth session to the lowest since October 2008.

Consumption of the refined metal will trail output by 90,000 metric tons this year, Morgan Stanley said in a report June 2. The market posted a 83,000-ton deficit in March, after a 2,000-ton surplus a month earlier, the International Copper and Study Group said in a report today. Copper has rallied 9.2 percent from a 44-month low in March.

Supply and demand “favor the bull camp,” Tom Power, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “As long as we’re continuing to see strong economic data out of China, we’re probably going to see calls for more demand.”

Copper futures for delivery in September advanced 0.9 percent to settle at $3.142 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York, extending the longest rally since Dec. 16. Prices climbed to $3.1515, the highest since June 3.

Hedge funds aren’t expecting the rally to last. Money managers held a net-short position, or bets on price declines, of 313 futures and options contracts as of June 17, the latest U.S. government data show. That compares with a net-long holding of 5,107 a week earlier.

China is the world’s biggest copper user.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1 percent to $6,885 a ton ($3.12 a pound).

Zinc rose to a 16-month high in London as inventories tracked by the LME fell to the lowest since December 2010. Aluminum, lead and nickel also advanced. Tin fell.

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