Copper rose to a one-week high on signs that the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating.
Manufacturing in the U.S., the world’s second-largest copper user, grew in February at the fastest pace in almost seven years, the Tempe, Arizona-based Institute for Supply Management said today. The unemployment rate in January was at 9 percent, the lowest since April 2009.
“We are seeing improvement in everything except housing,” said Matthew Zeman, a metal trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago. “Even with the unrest in Middle East, people are putting on the risk trade.”
Copper futures for May delivery rose 1.3 cents, or 0.3 percent, to close at $4.5095 a pound at 1:21 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $4.525, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 22.
The metal may finish the month “marginally higher” as equity markets improve, said Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.
Prices have jumped 35 percent in the past year, touching a record $4.6575 on Feb. 15, as mining companies failed to keep pace with rising consumption in emerging markets. China is the largest buyer of the metal.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped $26, or 0.3 percent, to $9,860 a metric ton ($4.47 a pound). Tin, zinc, lead and nickel also declined in London.
Aluminum gained 0.4 percent to $2,610 a ton, after reaching $2,617.25, the highest since September 2008.