Aluminum Reaches 18-Month High as U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Jump

Aug 26, 2014 2:33 pm ET

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum rose to the highest in 18 months, leading advances for industrial metals, after a report showed U.S. durable-goods orders jumped by the most on record last month.

Demand for items meant to last at least three years rose 22.6 percent in July as bookings surged for commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department said today. Confidence among American consumers unexpectedly climbed in August to the highest level in almost seven years, reinforcing signs of a strengthening outlook, an index from the Conference Board showed. The U.S. is the world’s biggest metals consumer after China.

“You had a very strong report, and the metals just shot up” after the durable-goods data, Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management, said in a telephone interview from Annapolis, Maryland. “The metals are very responsive and sensitive to any kind of economic report right now.”

Aluminum for delivery in three months climbed 1 percent to $2,083 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after touching $2,100, the highest since February 2013. The LME was shut yesterday for a national holiday.

Prices also climbed amid supply concerns after Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. producer, said yesterday it will close an Italian smelter permanently because it is too expensive to operate.

Nickel and zinc will probably lead advances by industrial metals next year as global demand outstrips production, according to Paul Crone, chief investment officer at Citrine Capital Management LLC.

On the LME, nickel and zinc rose, while lead and tin slid. Copper for delivery in three months dipped 0.3 percent to $7,054 a ton ($3.20 a pound).

Copper futures for delivery in December fell 0.8 percent to close at $3.2125 a pound on the Comex in New York.