Copper Climbs as China Plans Output Cuts Amid Rising U.S. Demand

  • Construction spending grows in U.S., 2nd biggest metals user
  • Copper prices tumbled 10 percent last month, most since Jan.

Copper climbed for a second day amid signs of increasing demand in the U.S. at a time when smelters have agreed to cut output in China, the world’s biggest maker of the refined metal.

Construction spending in the U.S., the world’s largest copper user behind China, grew more than expected in October, boosted by the biggest surge in federal outlays since October 2006, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. In China, top suppliers including Jiangxi Copper Co. and Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. pledged to reduce production next year by 350,000 metric tons, after a meeting in Shanghai, according to a statement from 10 smelters.

Copper for delivery in three months increased 1 percent to settle at $4,632 a metric ton at 5:52 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices tumbled 10 percent last month, the biggest decline since January, on signs that China’s sluggish economy is reducing demand for building materials.

“We’re seeing good demand for everything that goes into buildings and apartments like copper and zinc,” Peter Thomas, a senior vice president at Zaner Group LLC, a metals broker in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Still, hedge funds are betting there’s more pain in store for copper. The net-short position in Comex futures and options increased to 29,917 contracts in the week ended Nov. 24, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released Monday. That’s the most bearish reading since August.

Copper futures for March delivery climbed on the Comex in New York. On the LME, aluminum, nickel, zinc, lead and tin gained.

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