Copper Gains as Chinese Manufacturing Gauge Unexpectedly Rises

Copper climbed the most in almost two weeks in London after an official manufacturing gauge rose unexpectedly in China, the world’s biggest user of the metal.

A purchasing managers’ index released June 1 gained to 50.8 in May rather than dropping to 50.0 as predicted by economists. Prices also increased after Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said a probe of accidents at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia may halt work for as long as three months. Nickel jumped on a report that a Chinese stockpiling agency bought the metal.

“The better-than-expected official Chinese PMI could drive base-metal prices higher today,” Mark Pervan, an analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Melbourne, said in a report.

Copper for delivery in three months added 0.9 percent to $7,377 a metric ton by 10:05 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices climbed as much as 1.2 percent, the most since May 22. Copper for delivery in July rose 1.4 percent to $3.338 a pound on the Comex in New York.

China’s government indicated a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is bottoming out.

“The apparent consumption numbers will continue to look good in the May data,” Gayle Berry, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London, said of China by phone. “But people are getting a little bit worried about later this month and July, whether some of that seasonal uptick will start to ease off.”

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME rose for a first session in seven to 617,225 tons, daily exchange figures showed. Inventories in Malaysia’s Johor, the biggest repository, expanded 5.8 percent to 216,400 tons. Global orders to remove the metal from warehouses fell 1.5 percent to 228,350 tons.

Nickel for delivery in three months on the LME gained 2.4 percent to $15,186 a ton. Prices surged as much as 5.2 percent, the most since September, after reaching the lowest level since 2009 on May 31.

China’s State Reserve Bureau bought about 30,000 tons of nickel, equivalent to one-sixth of LME stocks, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the transaction. The purchase happened several months ago, according to the paper.

Aluminum, lead, zinc and tin climbed in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at [email protected]

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