Aluminum Reaches Eight-Week High as U.S. Rebound Spurs Buying

Dec 30, 2013 1:46 pm ET

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum touched an eight-week high in London as signs of a strengthening U.S. economic recovery prompted some traders to buy industrial metals. Copper was little changed in New York.

A gauge of pending American home sales increased 0.2 percent in November, the first gain in six months, the National Association of Realtors said today. Global equities traded near the highest since 2007. The London Metal Exchange Index of six components is headed for the fifth monthly gain since June as robust economic growth increases demand prospects.

“Anything having to do with home sales increasing is going to help the industrial metals,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options Inc. said by telephone from Port Saint Lucie, Florida. “It’s a very good sign for the economy, which should continue to push prices higher.”

Aluminum for delivery in three months advanced 0.7 percent to settle at $1,822 a metric ton at 5:51 p.m. in London, after reaching $1,839, the highest since Nov. 4. Prices are still down 12 percent this year, the biggest drop after nickel among the main LME metals.

American manufacturing continued to expand this month, a Bloomberg survey showed before a report on Jan. 2 from the Institute for Supply Management. China is the world’s top metals consumer, followed by the U.S.

“The market remains in a bullish stance, as the general outlook for 2014 looks mildly positive,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets LLC said in a report.

Copper for delivery in three months slipped 0.1 percent to $7,375 a ton ($3.35 a pound) on the LME. On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $3.3825 a pound. Prices rose 5.5 percent in December, paring the annual decline to 7.4 percent.

Stockpiles monitored by the LME slid for a 39th session to 367,450 tons, the lowest since January.

Lead, tin, zinc and nickel dropped in London.

--With assistance from Alfred Cang in Shanghai. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Joe Richter