Copper Rises Most in Five Weeks as Global Inventories Dwindle

May 02, 2014 2:44 pm ET

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose the most in five weeks as a gauge of global inventories dropped to the lowest in five years.

Stockpiles monitored by exchanges in the U.K., U.S. and China have dropped 31 percent this year to the lowest since December 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Supplies available for removal from London Metal Exchange inventories fell to the smallest since July 2008. Premiums added to prices climbed for three straight weeks in China, the world’s top user, according to Metal Bulletin figures.

“The low LME stockpiles are adding to the rally,” Tom Power, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in an e-mail. “They have a very limited local supply in China, and demand remains steady.”

Copper futures for July delivery advanced 1.6 percent to settle at $3.07 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since March 28.

The price dropped in the previous three sessions, the longest slump since March 11, partly on signs that the economy stalled in the first quarter in the U.S., the second-biggest consumer.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months gained 1.1 percent to $6,719 a metric ton ($3.05 a pound). The price has dropped 8.7 percent this year.

Nickel fell 0.1 percent to $18,270 a ton in London. The metal has jumped 31 percent this year on forecasts that supplies will trail demand after Indonesia barred exports of raw ore in January.

Aluminum rose 0.1 percent to $1,786 a ton. This week, the price slumped 3.6 percent,the most since late August. Inventories rose for the second straight week.

Tin, lead and zinc rose today.

Chinese markets are closed until May 5 for the Labor Day holiday. The LME will be shut May 5 for a public holiday.

--With assistance from Alex Davis in Hong Kong.