Copper Rises to Highest Since June in London as Stockpiles Slide

Jan 02, 2014 2:28 pm ET

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Copper climbed to the highest since June in London as manufacturing expanded last month in China and the U.S., the world’s biggest consumers of the metal, and inventories shrank further.

A Chinese factory measure today from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics came in at 50.5, above the 50 level that signals growth. Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at the second-fastest pace in more than two years, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed. Copper stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell today for a 41st straight session, the longest slump since 2004.

“Prices finally reflect decreased availability and improving global macro-economic performance,” Michael Turek, a senior director at Newedge Group SA in New York, said in an e- mail. “Sustained tightness should reinforce the overall uptrends for the foreseeable future.”

Copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $7,393 a metric ton ($3.35 a pound) at 6:44 p.m. local time on the LME. The metal touched $7,460, the highest since June 5. Last year, prices dropped 7.2 percent.

The ISM’s factory index eased to 57, from the prior month’s 57.3, which was the highest since April 2011, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed. Orders were the strongest since April 2010 and a measure of factory employment climbed to a two-year high.

LME inventories dropped to the lowest in almost a year, and stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have declined to the smallest since Jan. 12, 2012.

Aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc also gained in London, while tin was lower.

In New York, copper futures for delivery in March lost 0.4 percent to close at $3.3815 a pound on the Comex, after reaching $3.4245, the highest since April 12. Prices fell 7 percent last year.

--Agnieszka Troszkiewicz and Joe Richter. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan