South Korea lowered borrowing costs hours after Brazil to stem risks of a deeper slowdown driven by weakness in China and Europe. Central banks in the U.S., Europe and Japan added to stimulus last month, lifting copper to the biggest monthly gain since January. U.S. applications for jobless benefits fell to 339,000, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was 370,000.
“Markets may be steadier today on account of developments out of Brazil and South Korea,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a note. U.S. unemployment claims were “much better than” expected, he said.
Copper futures for delivery in December gained 1.3 percent to $3.767 a pound at 11:06 a.m. on the Comex in New York. A close at that price would mark the biggest increase since Sept. 14.
Growth in Chinese exports may have doubled last month and imports probably rose after declining in August, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The figures are due Oct. 13. The Asian country is the world’s biggest metals consumer.
“We have some very important data coming out of China, which could begin to indicate an improvement in the outlook after the particularly weak numbers over the summer months,” Nic Brown, head of commodities research at Natixis SA in London, said by e-mail.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 1.2 percent to $8,261.25 a metric ton ($3.75 a pound).
Lead, zinc, nickel, aluminum and tin also gained in London.
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