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Copper, Aluminum Prices Jump as Chinese Manufacturing Expands

Copper prices had the biggest gain in almost four weeks as factory output expanded in China, the world’s biggest consumer. Aluminum jumped the most in seven weeks.

Chinese manufacturing grew at a faster pace than forecast, government data showed today. The country’s infrastructure spending will create sustained demand, said Zhou Zhongshu, the president of China Minmetals Corp., the nation’s biggest metal trader. In November, the price climbed 2.5 percent, the fifth straight monthly advance.

“Prices are up on the heels of upbeat Chinese manufacturing data, which in theory leads to more copper consumption.” said Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.

Copper futures for March delivery climbed 12.2 cents, or 3.2 percent, to settle at $3.9475 a pound at 1:44 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since Nov. 4. Earlier, the price reached $3.9505, the highest since Nov. 15.

The metal has jumped 37 percent since July 1, reaching a 30-month high of $4.0875 a pound on Nov. 11, as global inventories declined.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed $225, or 2.7 percent, to $8,8585 a metric ton ($3.89 a pound). The commodity reached a record $8,966 on Nov. 11.

Prices have also rallied on concern that a strike at the world’s fourth-largest mine will curb supply.

Workers at Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc’s Collahuasi copper mine in Chile have been off the job for 27 days.

Aluminum rose $65, or 2.9 percent, to $2,340 a ton in London, the biggest gain since Oct. 8.

Zinc, tin, nickel and lead also gained on the LME.

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