Copper futures rose the most in two weeks on signs of improving prospects for demand after South Korea and Brazil cut interest rates and U.S. jobless claims fell to a four-year low.
South Korea and Brazil cut rates to stem risks from a deeper economic slowdown driven by weakness in China and Europe. The U.S., Europe and Japan expanded stimulus programs in September, sending copper to the biggest monthly gain since January. U.S. applications for jobless benefits fell to 339,000, the fewest since February 2008, government data showed. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey projected 370,000.
“Markets may be steadier today on account of developments out of Brazil and South Korea,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a note. Unemployment claims were “much better than” expected, he said.
Copper futures for delivery in December gained 0.9 percent to settle at $3.7515 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest increase since Sept. 27.
Growth in Chinese exports may have doubled last month and imports probably rose after declining in August, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The figures are due later this week. The country is the world’s biggest user of industrial metals.
“We have some very important data coming out of China, which could begin to indicate an improvement in the outlook after the particularly weak numbers over the summer months,” Nic Brown, the head of commodity research at Natixis SA in London, said in an e-mail.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.9 percent to $8,239.50 a metric ton ($3.74 a pound). Nickel, aluminum and tin gained, while lead and zinc fell.