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Copper Rises Most in Month on European Steps to Tame Debt Crisis

Copper Advances Most in Two Weeks on Record Holiday Sales
A worker passes a ladle filled with molten copper at the KGHM Polska Miedz SA copper smelting factory in Glogow. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Copper rose the most in a month as a proposed framework for a bailout fund in Europe boosted prospects that the region will tame a debt crisis that has slowed economic growth and demand for raw materials.

Europe’s rescue fund may insure bonds of debt-stricken countries with guarantees of 20 percent to 30 percent, depending on financial markets, according to guidelines that finance ministers will discuss this week. Copper also gained after U.S. retail sales jumped to a record over the Thanksgiving holiday. The U.S. is the world’s largest copper consumer after China. Global equity markets rose.

“Finally, we’ve got a little optimism out of Europe,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “Stocks are up, and we’re seeing some buying in copper.”

Copper futures for March delivery climbed 2.7 percent to close at $3.3715 a pound at 1:14 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Oct. 27.

“The markets are being driven by good numbers out of the U.S. for Black Friday,” the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season after the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving holiday, Nic Brown, the head of commodities research at Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd., said in an e-mail. “It certainly appears that Europe is getting more serious in its consideration of closer fiscal integration.”

Workers at the Collahuasi mine in northern Chile began a strike at the world’s third-largest copper mine today, stopping output at two pits and taking control of the mine’s stockpiles. Chile is the world’s largest producer.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 3.7 percent to $7,495 a metric ton ($3.40 a pound).

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

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