Copper rose for a third day in London as Chinese services industries expanded at the fastest pace in four months, bolstering prospects for an economic rebound in the world’s biggest consumer of the metal.
A purchasing managers’ index climbed to 56.1 in December, China’s statistics bureau and its logistics federation said. Copper advanced the most since September yesterday after lawmakers in the U.S., the second-largest copper user, passed a bill to avoid tax increases and spending cuts. Lead reached the highest price in 16 months today.
“The market will be keen to buy any pullbacks,” Mark Newson-Smith, head of sales at XConnect Trading Ltd. in London, said by e-mail. “Any gains are likely to be less spectacular than yesterday.”
Copper for delivery in three months added 0.2 percent to $8,229 a metric ton by 10:50 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices touched the highest level since Oct. 18. Copper for delivery in March rose 0.2 percent to $3.745 a pound on the Comex in New York. Chinese markets are shut for a holiday.
“There is a feeling too that the Chinese may well sell on their return to trading tomorrow,” Newson-Smith said.
Reports tomorrow may show hiring in the U.S. strengthened last month and factory orders increased for a third month in November, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. A gauge of U.S. manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management released yesterday was stronger than analysts estimated.
Inventories of copper tracked by the LME fell for the first time in 18 sessions, slipping 0.2 percent to 320,000 tons, daily exchange figures showed. Stockpiles jumped 46 percent in the fourth quarter, the biggest surge since 2009.
“Copper is going to have a difficult time maintaining these sorts of outsize gains lately,” Donald Selkin, New York- based chief market strategist at National Securities Corp., said by e-mail yesterday.
Lead for delivery in three months on the LME climbed as much as 2.8 percent to $2,499 a ton, the highest price since Sept. 2, 2011. Zinc rose as much as 2.2 percent to $2,187.25 a ton, the highest level since Jan. 27. Aluminum and nickel gained as tin dropped.
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