Jun 06, 2012 (Dow Jones) NEW YORK--Copper futures ended a five-day losing streak, settling higher Wednesday on a weaker dollar and optimism that further monetary easing may come from the Federal Reserve.
The most actively traded contract, for July delivery, climbed 9.00 cents, or 2.7%, to settle at $3.3790 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged, sending the euro higher against the dollar. ECB President Mario Draghi said Europe's bank problems cannot be resolved by monetary policy alone, cooling hopes of further stimulus.
Copper futures rallied alongside the euro, as some foreign investors rushed in to buy copper at lower prices relative to their home currencies. Demand for dollar-denominated copper tends to rise as the dollar eases, because the contracts become cheaper for investors who use other currencies.
Euro-zone worries have pushed copper prices lower in recent weeks, with futures touching a 2012 of $3.2890 a pound Tuesday. Demand for goods that contain copper, like laptops, cars and air-conditioners, tends to fall as business activity slumps.
However, some investors opted to add to their copper positions on hopes that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will signal a more accommodative stance in his speech to Congress Thursday.
"Many players are now looking to bet on more global monetary easing which should help commodities as money floods the system and hard assets become more dear," traders at RBC Capital Markets said in a note to clients.
Elsewhere, copper investors are keeping on eye on a potential strike at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.'s (FCX) Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia in the next two weeks, Barclays wrote in a note. The company has faced continued tensions with the labor union since last year, when Freeport suffered its first major work stoppage at Grasberg in over 40 years.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Jun $3.3790; up 9.05 cents; Range $3.3080-$3.3810
Jul $3.3790; up 9.00 cents; Range $3.2950-$3.3820