Bloomberg News

Copper Swings Between Gains and Losses on China Easing

August 16, 2012

Copper rose the most in more than a week as U.S. building permits jumped to a four-year high, adding to signs of improvement in the housing market.

Building permits, a proxy for future construction, increased to an 812,000 annual pace in July, the most since August 2008, Commerce Department figures showed today. Construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal, used in pipes and wiring, according to the Copper Development Association. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials climbed as much as 0.9 percent.

“Any time you see a positive report on housing, that’s bullish for copper,” Adam Klopfenstein, the senior market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Signs of stability and traction in the housing market will lend support to copper, and we’re seeing broader strength in commodities and equities.”

Copper futures for December delivery rose 1 percent to settle at $3.3935 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since Aug. 7. The metal has fallen 2.9 percent this quarter on concerns that the debt crisis in Europe and slowing growth in China would erode demand.

The permits figures add to signs of recovery in the U.S. real-estate market. A private report yesterday showed builder confidence climbed in August to the highest level in more than five years.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months advanced 0.9 percent to $7,449 a metric ton ($3.38 a pound).

Aluminum, lead, tin and nickel also rose in London. Zinc fell.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net;

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


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