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Copper Futures Post Biggest Weekly Gain Since September

Copper futures advanced, capping the biggest weekly gain in more than two months, on optimism that demand will increase in China, the world’s top user of industrial metal.

Confidence in China’s economy is at the highest in more than a year amid speculation that Xi Jinping, the new leader, will be better for the financial climate, according to a Bloomberg investor poll. A report tomorrow may disclose that manufacturing increased this month. In the U.S., business activity in November expanded for the first time in three months, MNI Chicago Report’s business barometer showed today.

“The general chatter is that China may be doing better,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “All of the industrials pick up when the world economy looks better.”

Copper futures for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to settle at $3.65 a pound at 1:21 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $3.6515, the highest for a most-active contract since Oct. 22. This week, the metal gained 3.1 percent, the most since mid-September.

The Chinese Purchasing Managers’ Index probably will increase to 50.8 in November from 50.2, according to the median of 28 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, cited “sound and solid” interest from customers for next year. Demand may grow 5 percent to 7 percent in 2013 in China, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Keller said today in Shanghai, citing analyst estimates.

Copper, up 3.8 percent in November, has advanced 6.2 percent this year. Inventory monitored by the London Metal Exchange, down 0.4 percent today, has dropped 33 percent this year.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.2 percent to $7,995 a ton ($3.63 a pound). Aluminum, nickel, zinc and lead gained, while tin dropped.

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