July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose to a three-month high after a government report showed housing starts in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest user of the metal, gained more than forecast in June.
Work began on 629,000 houses at an annual pace, topping the highest estimate in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News. Building permits, a sign of future construction, unexpectedly climbed. Copper, used in pipes, wiring and roofing, has gained 4.3 percent this month.
“Positive housing numbers are lending support to copper,” Adam Klopfenstein, a senior strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There is a continued feeling that growth will be here in the second half of the year.”
Copper futures for September delivery advanced 6.5 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $4.468 a pound at 1:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $4.496, the highest for a most-active contract since April 11.
The metal has jumped 52 percent in the past year, reaching a record $4.6575 on Feb. 15, as mining companies struggled to keep pace with rising consumption. China is the world’s largest user.
“We’re having now a bit of a relief rally in some of the markets,” Christin Tuxen, an analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in a telephone interview. “Market participants are more confident” that the European and U.S. debt woes won’t derail the global economy, she said.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose $146, or 1.5 percent, to $9,840 a metric ton ($4.46 a pound).
Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc also gained on the LME.
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