Aluminum in London rose to a one- week high and copper climbed for a third day amid speculation that an improving U.S. economy will drive prices higher, prompting Chinese users to place orders.
Aluminum for delivery in three months gained as much as 0.6 percent to $1,993 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest since March 5, before trading at $1,991 by 10:49 a.m. Shanghai time. Copper advanced 0.3 percent to $7,856 a ton.
The fewest workers on record in the U.S. were fired in January and job openings rebounded, showing employers are gaining confidence the U.S. expansion will be sustained even as lawmakers battle to trim the federal budget deficit. Orders to remove copper from warehouses monitored by the LME jumped 40 percent to 33,400 tons, the biggest gain in more than two months.
“There’s a bit of Chinese buying in LME copper, especially after the discount of SHFE to LME prices narrowed,” said Xiao Jing, an analyst at Beijing Capital Futures Co. “This could add to local stockpiles further, when imports arrive.”
There were 1.51 million people let go in the U.S. in January, down from 1.57 million in December and the least in data going back 12 years, the Labor Department said yesterday. The number of positions waiting to be filled climbed by 81,000 to 3.69 million after slumping by 177,000 in December.
Copper for delivery in June on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 1.4 percent to 57,120 yuan ($9,183) a ton.
On the LME, zinc, lead and nickel also climbed.
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