Copper Heads for Weekly Gain After Strong U.S. Home Sales

Copper in London rose to a two-week high, heading for the first weekly advance in a month on stronger-than-expected U.S. homes sales and before a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange climbed as much as 1 percent to $7,083 a metric ton, the highest since Aug. 5, and was at $7,067 at 3:19 p.m. in Hong Kong. Copper has gained 2.9 percent this week, set for the biggest rise since July 4.

Existing home sales last month climbed to a 5.15 million annual pace, the highest since September, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 5.02 million. Builders are the biggest users of copper. Yellen speaks today to policy makers at a Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as investors look for clues as to the timing of U.S. interest-rate increases.

“The U.S. now looking better does bode well for copper,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney.

Chinese manufacturing sustained growth for a third month, according to a gauge from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics yesterday. A preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index for August was 50.3. Levels above 50 indicate expansion. China and the U.S. are the biggest users of industrial metals.

In New York, copper futures for December rose 0.7 percent to $3.2165 a pound, while in Shanghai metal for delivery in October climbed 1.1 percent to close at 50,760 yuan ($8,244) a ton.

On the LME, aluminum and lead advanced, while zinc, nickel and tin were little changed.