Copper futures had the biggest gain in almost five weeks after central banks from the U.S. to China moved to ease strains in financial markets. Aluminum and zinc surged almost 6 percent, leading a commodity rally.
The Federal Reserve and five other central banks agreed to cut the cost of emergency funding for banks in Europe as part of a global effort to stem the region’s debt crisis. Separately, China cut the amount of cash that lenders must set aside as reserves for the first time since 2008.
“Sentiment was upbeat,” RBC Capital Markets LLC said in a report. “The question now on many minds will be whether today’s coordinated action will be a game changer and sufficient to encourage consumption and spur renewed economic growth which will, in turn, support metal prices.”
Copper futures for March delivery jumped 5.5 percent to close at $3.5755 a pound at 1:29 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Oct. 27.
On the London Metal Exchange, aluminum for delivery in three months rose 5.7 percent to $2,110 a metric ton, the largest advance since March 19, 2009. Zinc advanced 5.8 percent to $2,071 a ton, the biggest gain since June 8, 2010.
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials climbed as much as 1.7 percent. Tin, nickel and lead also gained in London.
The efforts among central banks “along with the Chinese reserve cut are the obvious short-term drivers,” James Dailey, who manages $215 million at TEAM Financial Management LLC in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said in an e-mail.
Copper also climbed after a private report signaled that U.S. companies added more workers than anticipated in November.
China is the world’s largest consumer of the metal, followed by the U.S.
On the LME, copper rose 5.3 percent to $7,885 a ton ($3.58 a pound).