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Copper Rises Most in Four Weeks on China Manufacturing

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose the most in four weeks as manufacturing gains in China, the world’s largest consumer of industrial metal, added to signs of economic optimism.

A Purchasing Managers’ Index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics climbed to 51.5 in December, the highest since May 2011. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. In 2012, copper climbed 6.3 percent, the third gain in four years, partly on China’s growth.

“The better-than-expected data out of China shows that the economy is continuing to move forward,” Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “China’s growth had been a big concern during the soft patch a few weeks ago.”

Copper futures for March delivery advanced 1.8 percent to settle at $3.6525 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest increase for a most-active contract since Nov. 29.

Chinese production and retail sales topped estimates in November, while industrial companies’ profits expanded for a third straight month, reports showed this month.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.6 percent to $7,931 a metric ton ($3.60 a pound). Aluminum, tin and zinc climbed, while nickel and lead fell.

In 2012, tin jumped 22 percent, lead climbed 14 percent, zinc advanced 13 percent and aluminum rose 2.6 percent. Nickel dropped 8.8 percent.

A gauge of the six LME metals gained 4.5 percent this year after slumping 22 percent in 2011.

Comex floor trading will be shut tomorrow for New Year’s Day, and the LME will be closed.

To contact the reporters on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net; Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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