Copper climbed for a third day, supported by signs of improvement in the U.S. economy and progress in containing Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.
Three-month copper rose as much as 0.4 percent to $8,567 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,549 by 3:54 p.m. Tokyo time. The metal has risen 12.5 percent in the first three months, the most since the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010. Comex May-delivery metal was little changed at $3.8860 a pound.
Asian stocks rose the most in two weeks after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday that while he’s encouraged by the unemployment rate’s drop to 8.3 percent, further improvement in the job market will require continuing the central bank’s stimulative monetary policies.
“Risk appetite improved,” Mark Pervan and Natalie Robertson, analysts at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), said in a report today. “Copper prices are expected to trade within a range, as conflicting views regarding slowing Chinese growth against U.S. accommodative policy initiatives sway the market in different directions.”
The market is closely watching U.S. data forecast to show orders for durable goods increased in February. In the U.S., bookings for long-lasting U.S. factory goods rose 3 percent last month, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg before the Commerce Department releases its figures tomorrow.
The metal rose as much as 2.3 percent yesterday after a report showed German business confidence unexpectedly gained and Chancellor Angela Merkel said that her country may back plans for the temporary and permanent euro-area rescue funds to run in parallel. European finance ministers will meet on March 30 to discuss raising a 500 billion-euro ($664 billion) ceiling on the region’s financial firewall.
Copper inventories monitored by the LME fell 0.5 percent to 254,000 tons, the lowest level since November 2008, daily exchange figures showed. Orders to draw the metal from LME warehouses, or canceled warrants, declined 0.5 percent to 85,050 tons.
The metal for delivery in June on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 0.9 percent to close at 60,710 yuan ($9,626) a ton. On the LME, aluminum was little changed at $2,189 a ton and zinc added 0.4 percent to $2,027 a ton. Lead gained 0.3 percent to $2,006 a ton. Nickel climbed 1 percent to $18,319 a ton and tin rose 1.3 percent to $22,750 a ton.
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