Bloomberg News

Copper Rises as Chinese Car Sales, Japanese Orders Top Estimates

April 11, 2012

Copper rose in London, rebounding from this year’s biggest drop, as car sales in China and Japanese machinery orders exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Passenger-car sales rose 4.5 percent in March, figures from a Chinese industry group showed today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted a 3.9 percent increase. Japanese bookings climbed 4.8 percent, according to a Cabinet Office report, more than all economists predicted. Copper slumped 4 percent by the close yesterday in London.

“It’s very much a day of consolidation,” William Adams, an analyst at in London, said by phone. “Copper broke yesterday below important support levels.”

Copper for three-month delivery added 0.8 percent to $8,095 a metric ton by 11:06 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices are below the 200-day moving average. The May-delivery contract rose 0.5 percent to $3.667 a pound on the Comex in New York.

The Copper Development Association says even a small car contains 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of the metal. World demand will likely exceed output by 300,000 tons this year before a 250,000-ton surplus in 2013, BNP Paribas SA estimates.

“The period of deficit comes to an end this year,” Stephen Briggs, an analyst at BNP Paribas in London, said by phone. “When sentiment about the economy is bad, copper is particularly exposed because it’s the one metal where the price is way above the costs of production.”

Antofagasta Plc, which has three Chilean copper mines, last month predicted weighted average cash costs of about $1.05 a pound for this year.

Aluminum for three-month delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $2,088 a ton. Alcoa Inc. (AA:US), the largest U.S. producer, yesterday reported an unexpected first-quarter profit after orders rose and it closed higher-cost smelting capacity.

Tin climbed 0.1 percent to $22,775 a ton. Prices erased a drop of as much as 1.5 percent after Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of the metal, was hit by an earthquake.

Zinc rose 0.2 percent to $1,994 a ton and nickel fell 0.4 percent to $18,100 a ton. Lead was unchanged at $2,018 a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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