Copper jumped the most in 10 months on speculation that demand may increase as Japan rebuilds after last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
Reconstruction and refurbishing of damaged plants, buildings and infrastructure should lead to greater commodity consumption, particularly building materials, James Steel, an analyst at HSBC Securities in New York, said in a report this week.
“Base metals will definitely benefit from the ultimate reconstruction effort when it gets under way,” said Nic Brown, an analyst at Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd. in London. “There is a danger that it may take longer for that reconstruction effort to materialize than the base-metals market may anticipate.”
Copper futures for May delivery rose 14.65 cents, or 3.5 percent, to settle at $4.334 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since May 21. The metal climbed to a record of $4.6575 on Feb. 15.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months gained $285, or 3.1 percent, to $9,545 a metric ton ($4.32 a pound) at 6:11 p.m. local time.
Aluminum, lead, nickel, zinc and tin also increased in London.
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