Copper Gains as Record China Imports Lend Optimism to Investors

  • The metal increases for eighth time in nine trading sessions
  • China shipped in 458,068 metric tons of copper last month

Copper rose for the eighth time in nine sessions amid optimism that demand is improving in China, the world’s biggest user.

The country’s imports of refined copper climbed to a record last month as the economy stabilized, customs data show. China shipped in 458,068 tons of copper, 39 percent more than a month earlier, customs agency data showed Thursday. Purchases of refined zinc and nickel also increased.

“The strong trade data that we’ve just seen seems to support the narrative that China stabilized in the first quarter,” Dane Davis, an analyst at Barclays Plc in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The Chinese government pulled out all the stops, and people may be thinking China isn’t as bad as we’ve seen it and maybe 2016 can be better than in 2015, I think that’s why copper could recover.”

Copper for delivery in three months gained 0.3 percent to settle at $4,997 a metric ton ($2.27 a pound) at 5:58 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after earlier touching $5,065 a ton, the highest in four weeks.

In other base metals:

  • Copper futures for July delivery added 0.5 percent to $2.256 a pound on the Comex. 
  • Zinc, tin and nickel also dropped in London, while aluminum and lead gained.
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