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Copper Advances on Speculation U.S. Will Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Copper rose in New York on speculation politicians in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal, will avoid the combination of tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

President Barack Obama said yesterday he’s “confident” about reaching an agreement with lawmakers. Obama spoke in Bangkok, where he traveled after starting a new round of deficit-reduction talks with top Republicans and Democrats. Copper also gained after a report showed house prices in leading consumer China increased in more cities in October.

“Risk maintains upside momentum,” Jason Dobson, director of metals for Asia at ICAP Plc in Hong Kong, said in a report.

Copper for delivery in March climbed 1 percent to $3.4945 a pound by 7:54 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices added as much as 1.2 percent, the most since Nov. 6. Copper for delivery in three months rose 1.1 percent to $7,689 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.

“It is still difficult to discern a clear-cut trend in metals prices, but upside advances are still likely to cause more surprises,” Michael Turek, a senior director at Newedge Group SA in New York, said by e-mail.

New-house prices advanced in 35 of the 70 cities China’s government tracks, compared with 31 in September, figures from the country’s statistics bureau showed yesterday. The Copper Development Association says construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal, used in pipes and wiring.

Copper also rose as the dollar fell the most since Nov. 7 against a basket of six currencies. A weaker greenback makes commodities more appealing as an alternative investment.

Money managers held a net short position, or bet on lower copper prices, of 826 Comex futures and options contracts as of Nov. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission figures showed. They were net long by 2,077 lots a week earlier.

Zinc for delivery in three months gained 0.2 percent to $1,923 a ton on the LME. Stockpiles of the metal monitored by the exchange climbed 1.4 percent to 1.18 million tons, the highest level since Jan. 27, 1995, daily figures showed. Copper inventories declined 0.4 percent to 254,050 tons.

Nickel, tin and lead rose in London. Aluminum fell.

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