Copper Advances as Signs of U.S. Growth Point to Higher Demand

Copper climbed for the first time in three days as reports showing an improving labor market and rising consumer confidence added to signs of recovery in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal.

Claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest in four years, Labor Department figures showed today. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased last week to the highest in four years as brighter job prospects and an advancing stock market bolstered Americans’ view of the economy.

“The outlook for copper is quite constructive,” William O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “The U.S. is doing well, and China’s economy may be better than people think.”

Copper futures for May delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $3.7955 a pound at 1:20 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, the metal slid the most since Dec. 14 after the Federal Reserve damped expectations for more economic stimulus.

A report tomorrow may show payrolls in the U.S. increased by more than 200,000 workers for a fourth month, based on the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Markets reopened in China, the world’s largest copper consumer, after closing for a holiday the prior three sessions. Economic figures next week “should provide information about the extent to which the Chinese central bank could implement further measures to loosen monetary policy,” Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a report.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months advanced 0.1 percent to $8,361 a metric ton ($3.79 a pound).

Aluminum, zinc, lead, tin and nickel also gained in London.

The U.S. and London exchanges will be closed tomorrow for public holidays, and the LME will be shut on April 9.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net; Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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