Jul 15, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- -- Bullish demand outlook, supply disruptions support copper
-- Steady U.S. equities, upbeat corporate earnings brighten sentiment
-- Futures end week flat as traders cautious amid U.S., euro-zone debt worries
By Matt Day
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Copper futures rose Friday on the view that steady global demand and disruptions in mine production would outweigh the drag from worries about the economic health of the U.S. and Europe.
The most-actively traded contract, for September delivery, settled up 3.3 cents, or 0.8%, at $4.413 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Copper has been supported through much of the year by the widely held view that mine supply won't be able to meet rising demand. Market watchers have pointed recently to signs of steady demand from China, the world's largest consumer of the metal and a driver in copper's rise to a record high above $4.60 a pound earlier this year.
"The overall picture is positive," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities. "Copper demand in China is pretty decent. If you believe that the U.S. will just kind of muddle along economically, that's going to add incrementally to demand as well."
Copper's rise Friday came despite weak readings on U.S. consumer confidence, industrial production and New York-area business conditions.
"Copper is shrugging off a lot of the fears about Europe and the U.S.," said Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist with brokerage Lind-Waldock in Chicago. Klopfenstein said the metal drew support Friday from a better-than-expected start to U.S. corporate earnings season.
Copper is sensitive to the growth outlook because of its widespread uses in manufacturing and construction.
Supply disruptions are "also providing a constructive backdrop for base metal prices," Standard Bank analyst Walter de Wet said in a note, citing production challenges at some large copper mines. Recent severe winter weather and worker protests in Chile, the world's largest copper producer, have led to production shortfalls.
Copper futures showed little direction this week, shuffling in a narrow range near $4.40 a pound as traders weighed whether slow-moving negotiations to raise the U.S. borrowing limit or Europe's debt crisis would upset the bullish demand outlook for industrial metals. Futures ended the week nearly flat, rising 0.1 cent. Market participants said trading volume was low, typical of the months when some trading desks in Europe and North America are lightly staffed because of vacations.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
July $4.4050; up 3.30 cents; Range $4.3510-$4.4150
Sept $4.4130; up 3.30 cents; Range $4.3550-$4.4265