Copper Futures Rise on Bets China May Move to Bolster Economy


Copper futures rose on speculation that fiscal policy will be loosened to bolster the economy in China, the world’s top consumer of industrial metals.

China may boost contingent spending on low-income housing, environmental protection and information technology, Goldman Sachs Investment Strategy Group said today in a report. Barclays Plc said that copper is “attractive” after a slump this week to a 44-month low.

“With the recent data that we’ve seen in the past few days, there’s expectations that there will be some kind of measure that China will implement to stimulate growth,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “That certainly could be helping the market.”

Copper futures for May delivery in May advanced 0.9 percent to settle at $2.9505 a pound at 1:22 p.m. on the Comex in New York. On March 12, the price touched $2.908, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 6, 2010.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.8 percent to $6,469 a metric ton ($2.93 a pound).

Prices fell 12 percent this year, the most among 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, on concern that demand will ebb in China as manufacturing falters.

If China’s government “again leans on targeted investment to protect growth, it would be positive for metals demand,” Barclays said today in a report.

Orders to remove copper from warehouses tracked by the LME gained 8.8 percent, the first increase since Feb. 19.

In London, nickel fell 0.3 percent to $15,740 a ton after reaching $15,999, the highest since April 12.

The price capped the sixth straight weekly gain, the longest rally since April 2010. The U.S. and European Union may impose more sanctions against Russia, the second-largest producer of the refined metal, amid escalating turmoil in Ukraine.

Lead rose, while aluminum and zinc fell. Tin was unchanged.