Copper climbed, poised for the biggest weekly advance in four, after data showed the U.S. labor market and housing strengthened, and as lawmakers in the biggest user of the metal after China sought to resolve a budget impasse.
Metal for delivery in three months gained as much as 0.5 percent to $7,955.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, and was at $7,935 as of 2:04 p.m. Shanghai time. Futures have advanced 4.4 percent this year and 1.3 percent this week, the biggest weekly rise since the week to Nov. 30. Copper for April delivery was little changed at 57,570 yuan ($9,237) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.
Applications for unemployment-insurance payments fell 12,000 to 350,000 in the week to Dec. 22, bringing the average over the past month to the lowest in more than four years. New-home purchases rose to the highest since April 2010 in November. The U.S. House will hold its first Sunday session in more than two years as lawmakers seek a deal by Jan. 1 to avert at least $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases.
“Investors are now more optimistic about the U.S. economy,” Xiong Dabiao, an analyst at Minmetals Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “For the fiscal problem, it now looks like the market is confident that the two parties will properly handle the issue.”
Copper for delivery in March rose 0.3 percent to $3.6125 a pound on the Comex in New York. On the LME, zinc and lead declined, while aluminum, tin and nickel were little changed.