Copper Climbs With Metals, Miners as China Data Improves Outlook

  • Chinese copper imports jump to record as nation's exports rise
  • Freeport-McMoRan heads to highest closing price since November

Industrial metals and mining shares jumped as Chinese trade data showed recovering demand in the biggest consumer of the commodities. Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the biggest publicly traded copper miner, headed for its highest closing price in five months.

China’s overseas shipments grew 11.5 percent in dollar terms in March from a year earlier, compared with a 25 percent slump in February, when factories and offices were closed for a week-long holiday. Copper imports rose for the first time this year, gaining 36 percent on the month to a record 570,000 metric tons.

“Base metals continued yesterday’s rally after Chinese trade data showed stronger-than-expected exports and imports,” Tai Wong, the director of commodity products trading at BMO Capital Markets in New York, said in an e-mail. The data “suggests stabilization in the economy and gave a boost to copper, where China is fully 50 percent of global demand.”

Copper for delivery in three months climbed 1.3 percent to settle at $4,830 a metric ton ($2.19 a pound) at 5:52 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange after reaching its highest level since April 1.

The Bloomberg World Mining Index climbed 3 percent, with Anglo American Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. among the top gainers. Freeport, which in January fell to the lowest price since 2000 amid a metals rout, climbed 5.8 percent to $11.03 at 2 p.m. in New York, which would be the highest close since Nov. 5. Mining equipment maker Joy Global Inc. gained as much as 16 percent, while Brazilian steelmaker Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA soared 21 percent in Sao Paulo.

Among other metals:

  • In London, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin also gained.
  • Copper futures for May delivery rose 1 percent to $2.168 a pound on the Comex in New York.
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