NEW YORK/LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Copper prices rallied on Wednesday, as comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and reports of stronger Chinese exports spurred optimism for the global recovery.
Copper for July delivery HGN0 on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division rallied 7.05 cents, or 2.5 percent, to settle at $2.85 per lb, near the upper end of its $2.7555 to $2.8790 session range.
On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark copper CMCU3 ended up $175 at $6,340 a tonne in official rings. Both markets are up about 5 percent from eight-month lows hit on
Monday, at $2.72 and $6,037.50, respectively.
Analysts said the catalyst behind the advance on Wednesday was a Reuters report that Chinese exports in May grew about 50 percent from a year earlier.
The news went some way to reassuring investors concerned about the damage to the global economy from Europe's debt crisis.
"We've rebounded because of the rumors of quite good trade data out of China," said Daniel Smith, an analyst at Standard Chartered. "Tomorrow, we've got the actual official announcement of that data so it's going to be the key thing to watch."
Traders said some stability in the euro's exchange rate against the dollar had helped boost sentiment. [USD/]
Stoking copper's losses in recent days was the dollar's rise to four-year highs against the euro, which made commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.
BERNANKE Bernanke, in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee, said the economic recovery appeared to be on solid footing and that while a double-dip recession "can never be entirely ruled out," he expects the economy to continue growing.
"Copper is coming up on the back-end of Bernanke's statements," said Jason Schenker, President of Prestige Economics, LLC.
"That has been a big driver and put a lot of markets in the green today," he said. The three major U.S. stock indexes all rose more than 1 percent, with the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI trading back up above the psychologically important 10,000 level, and European shares snapped a three-day losing streak to close up 1.85 percent.
Latest data showed LME stocks of copper fell 1,675 tonnes to 468,175 tonne, a fall of 15 percent since the middle of February and the lowest level since December last year. Aluminum stocks fell 6,325 tonnes to 4.51 million tonnes, from a record above 4.64 million tonnes in January.
Aluminum CMAL3 ended up $7 at $1,927 a tonne. Zinc CMZN3 rose $23 to close at $1,757, lead CMPB3 ended up $80 at $1,680, and tin CMSN3 was untraded in rings but was last quoted at $16,300/16,350 from $15,930. Nickel CMNI3 climbed $800 to finish at $19,270.