Copper Rises Most in Two Weeks as China GDP Data Tops Estimates

Apr 16, 2014 1:22 pm ET

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose the most in two weeks as economic expansion topped estimates in China, the world’s top user of industrial metals.

Gross domestic product rose 7.4 percent in the first quarter, Chinese government data showed today. The median estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey was 7.3 percent. Yesterday, a gauge of six industrial metals traded in London posted the biggest drop in almost four weeks on concerns that China’s economy would falter.

“The Chinese data was taken as a positive sign that there’s some prospect for improved economic conditions,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “That would warrant increased copper demand.”

Copper futures for July delivery gained 1.1 percent to settle at $3.0155 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since March 28. Yesterday, the price touched $2.9605, the lowest since March 26.

China’s GDP grew at the weakest pace in six quarters. Yesterday, the London Metal Exchange gauge of six prices including copper and nickel dropped 1.5 percent, the most since March 20.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.2 percent to $6,619 a metric ton ($3 a pound). The price has dropped 10 percent this year.

Stockpiles monitored by the LME fell for the 15th straight session to 242,300 tons, the lowest since November 2012.

Nickel advanced 1.1 percent to $17,860 a ton. Yesterday, the price dropped 0.7 percent, ending an 11-session rally, the longest since October 2010.

The metal has climbed 28 percent this year, the most among the major LME metals, amid supply concerns. Indonesia, the top producer from mines, barred exports of raw-mineral ores in January. Russia, home to OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the leading maker of refined metal, might face more sanctions from the U.S. and Europe amid turmoil in Ukraine.

Aluminum, lead, zinc and tin rose in London.

--With assistance from Alex Davis in Hong Kong, Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London and Alfred Cang in Shanghai.