Copper rose for a third session in New York after imports of the metal into China reached the highest level in 18 months, signaling continued demand in the world’s biggest consumer.
Shipments of unwrought copper and products climbed 18 percent to 457,850 metric tons in September, customs data showed Oct. 12. That was the highest level since March 2012. Prices also increased after copper inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange declined for a 28th straight session.
“Imports surprised to the upside,” Ivan Szpakowski, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in Shanghai, said in a report e-mailed today.
Copper for delivery in December added 1.1 percent to $3.305 a pound by 8:35 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal for delivery in three months rose 0.8 percent to $7,258 a ton on the LME.
While seasonal demand is helping to drive Chinese copper imports, traders may be taking advantage of firm premiums for the metal at bonded warehouses in Shanghai, Citigroup said.
LME copper stockpiles, at the lowest level since March, declined to 508,575 tons, daily exchange data showed. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses slid 1.6 percent to 258,275 tons, the lowest since June 19.
Copper also rose as the dollar weakened for a second session against a 10-currency basket amid the U.S. government’s continuing partial shutdown. Government borrowing authority is set to lapse in three days unless politicians agree to increase the debt ceiling. A sliding greenback makes raw materials priced in the currency cheaper in terms of other monies.
“A weaker dollar has supported the base complex,” RBC Capital Markets Ltd. said in a report. “As the U.S. government’s partial shutdown enters a third week, market focus now turns to the more serious conflict over raising the nation’s borrowing limit.”
Lead, nickel and zinc rose in London. Tin and aluminum fell.
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