Lead Rises to Highest in Three Weeks Amid Sign of Tighter Supply

  • Inventories tracked by LME drop for a record 48th session
  • Freeport, Teck shares drop as copper and other metals slide

Lead advanced to the highest in three weeks as inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange shrunk. Copper and other metals fell, sending shares of mining companies lower.

Stockpiles of lead fell for a 48th session, the longest slump since at least 1970. Inventories are down 42 percent this year to 128,225 metric tons, the smallest since October 2009. Glencore Plc has said it will cut annual output by about 100,000 tons.

“Probably lead concentrates are tightening around the world, and the recent production cuts announced by Glencore are going to tighten supply further,” Patricia Mohr, a commodity market specialist at Scotiabank in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a lot of battery replacement ahead of winter, so that might be a factor as well.”

Lead for delivery in three months gained 0.3 percent to settle at $1,654 a ton at 5:50 p.m. on the LME, after reaching $1,665, the highest since Nov. 9. Prices have rallied almost 7 percent since touching a five-year low on Nov. 23.

Output of the metal used in batteries fell 6.9 percent from a year earlier to 7.507 million tons in the first nine months of the year, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group said Nov. 18.

On the LME, copper, zinc and tin fell, while aluminum gained. Nickel was unchanged. On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery slipped 1.9 percent to $2.033 a pound.

The Bloomberg Americas Mining Index, which tracks 22 companies in North, South and Central America, fell 2.5 percent Wednesday, headed for the biggest loss since Nov. 6. Freeport-McMoran Inc., the world’s biggest publicly traded copper producer, and Teck Resources Ltd. were the worst performers on the index, each falling at least 5 percent.

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