Copper led gains in industrial metals after China’s trade surplus

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gsr-05Copper led gains in industrial metals after China’s trade surplus widened more than estimated in January and as imports of the commodity used in wiring rose.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange climbed as much as 0.7 percent to $7,125 a metric ton, the biggest intraday advance since Feb. 6. Copper traded at $7,118.25 at 10:55 a.m. Hong Kong time.

China’s imports climbed 10 percent from a year ago, versus estimates for 4 percent, while exports jumped 10.6 percent compared with forecasts of 0.1 percent, which may have been distorted by fake invoices and holidays. Inbound shipments of unwrought copper and copper products increased by 53 percent from a year earlier to a record 536,000 tons, according to data from China’s customs agency.

“The total trade data are a lot stronger than we thought and that’s a boost to commodities in general,” said Sijin Cheng, a commodities analyst at Barclays Plc in Singapore. Demand for copper to use as collateral to get credit contributed to the high imports of the metal, she said.

Copper futures for delivery in March rose 0.5 percent to $3.2315 a pound on the Comex in New York, while on the Shanghai Futures Exchange the metal for delivery in April rose 0.3 percent to 50,550 yuan ($8,348) a ton.

On the LME, aluminum, nickel, lead, zinc and tin all advanced.

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