Copper futures prices advanced in light trading Monday on the Commodity Exchange in New York amid signs of improving demand for the industrial metal.
Jack Barbanel, director of the futures trading division of Gruntal & Co. in New York, said several factors point to increased consumption.
He noted that China has started a program to refurbish its telephone system using copper wire.
Steve Platt, senior metals analyst in Chicago with Heinold Commodities, added that the Chinese have been taking delivery of copper recently, although some of the metal has come from Japan, which is holding a large supply.
Platt said many analysts have been expecting further reductions in inventories held by the London Metals Exchange, which is to release a weekly inventory report Tuesday.
Inventories of copper at the London Exchange and at the Commodity Exchange have been steadily declining since about mid-January.
Demand for copper for the housing and automobile industries also have picked up, analysts said.