Bloomberg News

Copper Climbs as U.S. Housing Forecast Boosts Optimism on Demand

December 20, 2011

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Copper rose in New York after a report showed U.S. housing starts rose last month, boosting the outlook for metals demand.

Builders in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest copper buyer, began work on the most homes in more than a year, a sign the market may be stabilizing heading into 2012. The metal also advanced as European leaders pledged 150 billion euros ($195 billion) to the International Monetary Fund to fight the region’s debt crisis. The euro rose as much as 1 percent against the dollar.

“The U.S. is showing slow but consistent improvement,” Matthew Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Trading is also going to be dictated by what the dollar is doing in this low-volume week ahead of the holidays.”

Copper futures for March delivery gained 1.8 percent to settle at $3.3695 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has dropped 24 percent this year as Europe’s debt crisis escalated and demand weakened in China, the world’s largest user.

“There’s some worry about China slowing down,” Zeman said. “People will continue to watch Europe and China.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 2.1 percent to $7,410 a metric ton ($3.36 a pound).

Aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel and tin also climbed in London.

--Editors: Millie Munshi, Daniel Enoch

To contact the reporter on this story: Yi Tian in New York at ytian8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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