Copper rose as stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell to the lowest in more than two years and as other commodities including oil gained before data forecast to show improving U.S. retail sales.
Metal for delivery in three months on the LME rose as much as 0.8 percent to $8,509 a metric ton and traded at $8,496 by 12:04 p.m. Seoul time. Inventories monitored by the world’s biggest metals bourse have tumbled 26 percent this year to 273,925 tons, the lowest level since July 2009. Orders to withdraw copper from LME warehouses, or canceled warrants, reached the highest level since 2004 at 99,150 tons on March 2, exchange figures showed.
“Given the high level of canceled warrants at the London Metals Exchange, we would argue that underlying demand is healthier than many market participants believe,” Tobias Merath, head of global commodity research at Credit Suisse AG, wrote in a report today.
Prices are up 12 percent this year on expectations the global economic recovery will spur metals demand. Futures for May delivery gained 0.5 percent to $3.8570 a pound on the Comex in New York. The June-delivery contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was 0.5 percent higher at 60,900 ($9,630) yuan a ton.
U.S. retail sales probably rose in February by the most in five months, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The Federal Open Market Committee meets today amid speculation that improvements in economic data have reduced the likelihood it will initiate a third round of asset purchases under quantitative easing. Oil in New York gained 0.5 percent to $106.91 a barrel. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index rose 0.4 percent.
On the LME, lead rose 0.4 percent to $2,145.75 a ton and nickel increased 0.3 percent to $19,323 per ton, while aluminum climbed 0.4 percent to $2,238 a ton and tin advanced 0.2 percent at $23,525 a ton. Zinc was little changed at $2,089.50 a ton.
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