Copper futures closed at a record high in New York after imports by China rebounded from the lowest level in a year.
Shipments of copper and products into China, the world’s largest user, rose 29 percent in November to 351,597 metric tons from October. Total imports in the 11 months ended Nov. 30 gained 0.7 percent to 3.95 million tons. Copper has jumped 43 percent since July 1, partly on demand from emerging markets.
The data on China “is sparking some buying and showing the markets that the economic juggernaut still seems to be powering forward,” Edward Meir, a senior commodity analyst at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Darien, Connecticut, said in a report.
Copper futures for March delivery rose 2.5 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at $4.112 a pound at 1:33 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the highest ever. The price is up 2.8 percent this week.
Yesterday, the metal climbed to $4.1545, the highest since May 5, 2008, when it touched an intraday record of $4.2605.
Inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange have dropped every week since late February, falling 31 percent this year. Stockpiles may shrink to an all-time low of less than one week’s usage next year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.
Prices also rose as exchange-traded products backed by the physical metal debuted. ETFS Physical Copper, started by ETF Securities Ltd., opened at $45.75 on the London Stock Exchange. Products backed by tin and nickel also began trading.
“Positive investor sentiment toward copper is likely to be supported by the launch of the first physically backed copper ETF” and two New York-listed funds planned for 2011, said Daniel Major, an analyst at RBS Global Banking & Markets in London.
Copper for delivery in three months rose $40, or 0.4 percent, to $8,990 a metric ton ($4.08 a pound) on the LME. Yesterday, the price rose to a record $9,091.
Nickel also gained in London. Lead, tin, zinc and aluminum fell.
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