Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) --Copper climbed to within 0.7 percent of its all-time high, and is on track for a second weekly advance, as China’s imports gained for the first time in three months, fueling speculation that demand in the world’s largest consumer is sustained.
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 0.9 percent to $9,028 a metric ton before trading at $9,019 at 3:46 p.m. Singapore time. The contract, which reached an all-time high of $9,091 a ton yesterday, is up 3.4 percent this week.
Imports of copper and products by China rose 29 percent to 351,597 tons from 273,511 tons in October, the General Administration of Customs said on its website today. Shipments were 21 percent higher than a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. Total imports in the first 11 months this year gained 0.7 percent to 3.95 million tons.
"There were some days last month when the arbitrage window opened and many traders took the opportunity to bring the metal in,” Pan Jinghua, an analyst at Citic Futures Co., said from Shanghai. "There are still orders to be fulfilled and with the way prices are rallying, some traders also saw the brief dip in prices as buying opportunities.”
The metal for March-delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange erased a decline of as much as 1.1 percent to end the day 0.5 percent higher at 67,780 yuan ($10,188) a ton. Last month, the most-active contract fell to a six-week low of 60,920 yuan. Futures on the Comex in New York climbed as much as 0.9 percent to $4.1245 a pound.
China’s exports and imports surged to record values in November, backing the case for additional measures to cool asset prices in the world’s largest user of industrial metals. Overseas shipments rose 35 percent from a year earlier and imports climbed 38 percent, the customs bureau said today.
The government’s statistics bureau brought forward the release of November economic data on inflation, retail sales, industrial output and fixed-asset investments by two days to Dec. 11, heightening speculation the People’s Bank of China will raise interest rates this weekend.
India joined China in battling rising prices after industrial production grew at the fastest pace in three months, the statistics office said in New Delhi today. Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subbarao said this week that inflation remains above the "tolerance level.”
Lead in London gained 0.6 percent to $2,420 a ton, nickel rose 0.4 percent to $23,700 a ton, and tin climbed 0.4 percent to $26,000 a ton. Aluminum advanced 0.3 percent to $2,345 a ton, while zinc dropped 0.4 percent to $2,291 a ton.