Wheat and copper surge

COMMODITY prices surged yesterday with copper touching a record high, and wheat prices nearing a two-and-a-half year high on expectations that demand from China could outstrip supply.

The rise in prices followed data from China indicating imports surged in January as its trade surplus shrank to $6.5bn from $13.1bn in December, marking its lowest level in nine months. Chinese imports of copper, considered a barometer for the global economy due to its use in construction and power, jumpedby 5.7 per cent in the first month of the year.

“It could very well be that the Chinese economy is running hotter than anyone thinks,” said Bart Melek, vice president and director of commodities with TD Bank Financial Group.

Copper hit record highs above $10,170 a tonne, while in Chicago, wheat futures settled up more than half a per cent at $8.72 a bushel after nearing 2-1/2-year highs above $8.80, as dry weather in crop areas of China and the United States also helped boost prices.