May 21, 2012 NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Copper futures climbed 1% Monday as investors added to copper holdings on cautious hopes of stability in Europe and stronger demand for industrial metals from China.
The most actively traded contract, for July delivery, settled up 3.35 cents, or 1%, at $3.5020 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Copper prices had careened 9.4% in May through Friday on fears that Greece would exit the euro zone and risk a sovereign-debt default. Copper is used in everything from solar power panels and transatlantic telecommunication cables to portable music players and air-conditioners, and its price is sensitive to shifts in economic outlook.
Members of the Group of Eight industrialized nations affirmed over the weekend their desire for Greece to stay in the euro zone.
The broader markets breathed a sigh of relief after a weekend poll of Greek voters showed they shared G-8's sentiment, with the majority indicating they would like to keep the euro. Athens has called a new election for June 17.
Copper futures caught an overnight boost from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's comments that Beijing would "stabilize" property-market regulations. The comments, reported by state media, were a departure from Wen's previous line that the country would stick to the property-tightening measures "unswervingly."
"This language would suggest the leadership is unwilling to let growth fall any further then what has been seen so far this year," traders at RBC said in a note to clients.
China's bustling real estate and manufacturing sectors helped the country become the world's largest consumer of copper, at about 40% of the world's annual supply. However, Beijing's clampdown on real-estate speculation has damped interest in the red metal.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Jul $3.5020; up 3.35 cents; Range $3.4360-$3.5205
May $3.5040; up 3.45 cents; Range $3.4460-$3.5040